Bolton chairman Phil Gartside is poised to bring former Fulham boss Chris Coleman back from Spain after finally calling time on Sammy Lee’s turbulent 169-day reign as manager.
Peter Reid, a Bolton favourite as a player, is the alternative choice. Gartside accepts that he is highly unlikely to persuade Paul Jewell, considered the best man available, to end his sabbatical.
Archie Knox is likely to oversee Saturday’s daunting trip to Arsenal, but Gartside was seeking permission from Real Sociedad to approach Coleman, hoping to tempt their Welsh boss into starting as soon as possible.
Gartside favours Coleman, currently trying to steer fallen Spanish giants Sociedad back into the top flight at the first time of asking in front of one of the country’s most demanding crowds.
He was impressed with Coleman’s achievement in keeping Fulham afloat in the top flight and the former Blackburn and Wales centre-half will not baulk at the chance of a Premier League return.
Bolton’s chairman needs to get this appointment right after being left with egg on his face from rashly hailing Lee as a better manager than Sam Allardyce when he stepped up from No 2 on April 30.
Gartside decided to act with Bolton still only three points adrift of safety and two winnable matches on the horizon after Arsenal — a UEFA Cup home tie with Portugal’s Braga followed by Aston Villa at the Reebok.