Zenga in frame for Trotters hotseat

Bolton chairman Phil Gartside will begin the task of finding a new

Trotters manager with Walter Zenga now emerging as a surprise

candidate.

While Chris Evans and Steve Wigley will stand in for the

sacked Gary Megson ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup tie with Lincoln at

the Reebok Stadium, Gartside knows he needs to act fast.

With Bolton in the relegation zone and a trip to Sunderland

sandwiched between two meetings with Arsenal after the Lincoln

encounter, Gartside cannot afford to hang around.

A succession of candidates have already been mentioned,

including former Wigan manager Paul Jewell and Peter Reid,

currently assistant manager at Stoke but a hero amongst the

Trotters supporters from his playing days.

Indeed, Jewell was at the Reebok Stadium on Tuesday as a

guest of Megson to watch Bolton throw away a two-goal lead against

Hull and now finds himself in the uncomfortable position of being

nominated as a potential successor to his friend.

“I find it embarrassing as I was at the Hull game with my son

as a guest of Gary. There was no ulterior motive,” he told the

Daily Mail. “I just thought it would be an interesting game to

watch. I am not one of those managers who sits in the stands to be

seen or to put any kind of pressure on other managers.”

Mark Hughes does appear to be the fans’ favourite given

another former Bolton player, Owen Coyle, is not interested.

However, with Italian managers currently in vogue, reports from

Serie A claim that Zenga has been approached. The 49-year-old has

managed a string of clubs in Europe, including Steaua Bucharest,

Red Star Belgrade, Dinamo Bucharest and current club Palermo. He

also speaks English, which would be an advantage if he was to join

Fabio Capello, Carlo Ancelotti, Gianfranco Zola and Roberto Mancini

in a growing band of Italians plying their trade in England.

It still appears more likely Gartside, acting in conjunction

with owner Eddie Davies, will plump for a candidate with Premier

League experience, which would rule out Darren Ferguson, one of the

other names high in the bookmakers’ lists.

Davies and Gartside will need to keep their nerve to ensure

the supporters so happy at the unpopular Megson’s departure do not

suffer the same fate as Charlton, whose fans demanded the dismissal

of Alan Curbishley because of the club’s continued failure to

qualify for Europe, and promptly ended up in League One.

Ironically, Curbishley and Steve Coppell offer the prospect

of a cool head in choppy seas but lack the ‘wow’ factor the Bolton

fans demand.

“Having spoken to a number of supporters, the one they all

want is Owen Coyle but I don’t think Owen would be interested

because he’s very loyal to his own club,” another former player,

Andy Walker, told Sky Sports News.

“If that is the case, I would like them to offer Mark Hughes

the job.

“He is a top manager and, in such a short space of time, has

proved himself. I think there’s only one candidate myself.”