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Bolton Wanderers FC First Team Staff Profiles

Information on the staff involved with the football club. 

Neil Lennon
First Team Manager

Neil Lennon returns to football management with Bolton Wanderers eager to continue a trend of success that has so far dominated his career. 

Lennon started his career in his native Northern Ireland with Glenavon, before he joined Manchester City as a trainee in 1987.

He signed for Crewe Alexandra on a free transfer in 1990, and would go on to join the likes of Rob Jones and David Platt as one of the early Railwaymen success stories.

Lennon’s impressive displays for the club earned him a maiden Northern Ireland appearance in 1994 as he became the first Crewe player for 60 years to win full international recognition. 

In February 1996 he signed for Martin O’Neill’s Leicester City and was a member of the side that won promotion to the Premier League that year via the play-offs.

After winning the League Cup twice with the Foxes, in 1997 and 2000, Lennon followed O’Neill to his boyhood club Celtic in December 2000, joining the club in a £5.75m deal.

Lennon finished his first season in Scotland with three winner’s medals as Celtic clinched a domestic treble.

He would go on to win a further four league championships, three Scottish Cups and a further League Cup during his time at Celtic Park, while he would later be named captain by O’Neil’s successor Gordan Strachan.

Lennon left the club to join Nottingham Forest in June 2007, but he returned to Celtic Park a year later, via a brief stint at Wycombe Wanderers, as he took his first steps into coaching.

Initially serving as first team coach, Lennon took charge of the Celtic’s reserve side before replacing Tony Mowbray as caretaker manager in March 2010.

Named Celtic manager on a full-time basis in June 2010 following a brief stint in temporary charge, the Hoops won the first silverware of his reign that season as they defeated Motherwell to win the Scottish Cup.

In 2011/12 Lennon guided Celtic to the League Championship for the first time since 2008, as his efforts saw him named SPL and SFWA Manager of the Year, while his side would beat Barcelona at Parkhead in the Champions League the following year.

After clinching the club’s third successive title last season, Lennon decided it was time for a new challenge as he left Celtic after four years in charge back in May.

Johan Mjallby
First Team Assistant Manager

Neil Lennon’s trusted number two at Macron Stadium, former Sweden international Johan Mjallby played alongside the Northern Irishman for three-and-a-half years at Celtic before he returned to Parkhead as assistant manager in March 2010.

Despite having established himself a centre-back during his days with Celtic, the 43-year-old started his career as a tough-tackling defensive midfielder with Allsvenskan side AIK.

Although a squad member when AIK won the Swedish league title in 1992, it was not until later on in the 90s when Mjallby really established himself as an integral member of the Stockholm-based club’s side.

A two-time Swedish cup winner, his performances at club level were soon noticed as he was handed an international debut in 1997, while, after winning his second Allsvenskan title he joined Celtic the following year in a £1.2m deal.

After being used in midfield during the ill-fated John Barnes’ era, Mjallby was used in defence under Kenny Dalglish, and soon won the first honour at Celtic as they beat Aberdeen to lift the 2000 League Cup.

Following Martin O’Neill’s appointment that summer, Celtic switched to a 3-5-2 formation with the Swede a mainstay on the right-hand side of the defence as the Hoops clinched the Scottish domestic treble.

Having featured for his country at Euro 2000, Mjallby would go on to captain Sweden in the 2002 World Cup.

A prominent member of the Celtic side that reached the 2003 UEFA Cup final, the 2003/04 season was to be Mjallby’s last at Parkhead as injuries began to take their toll.

Leaving Scotland to join newly-promoted La Liga side Levante, Mjallby was unable to enjoy the same level of success as he had in Scotland. Injuries restricted him to just three appearances for the club before he was forced to retire having to failed to recover sufficiently from a knee injury.

An attempt at a comeback the following year with AIK proved brief as injuries once again forced him to retire, this time for good, in May 2006.

Returning to Celtic as Lennon’s assistant manager in 2010, the Hoops dominated Scottish football during their time in charge at the club. 

Having left Celtic in May, Mjallby wasted no time in once again linking up with Lennon following his appointment as Wanderers manager in October 2014.

Garry Parker
First Team Coach

An experienced top-flight midfielder, Garry Parker reunites with Neil Lennon at Macron Stadium having played alongside the new Bolton Wanderers manager for five years at Leicester City.

The pair linked up again at Parkhead following the Northern Irishman’s appointment as Celtic manager as Parker came in as first team coach – a position he again takes up with the Whites.

Starting his career at First Division Luton Town as an apprentice in 1982, the 49-year-old made his debut for the Hatters the following year, however, infrequent appearances saw Parker join Hull City in 1986.

An automatic starter during his time with the Tigers, Parker’s consistent displays over his two-and-a-half years with the club saw Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest part with £260,000 to bring the midfielder to the East Midlands in 1988. 

Parker initially struggled to cement a starting berth at Forest before he made the left midfield berth his own during the second half of his first season with the club. 

A two time League Cup winner in 1989 and 1990, Parker also scored twice at Wembley in their Full Members Cup Final victory over Everton.

He was sold to Aston Villa in 1991 and was a member of the side that narrowly missed out on winning the first ever Premier League title in 1993.

Joining Leicester City in February 1995, Parker would eventually partner Lennon in the centre of midfield following the Bolton boss’ arrival at the club 12 months later.

Although his first season with the Foxes ended in relegation, Leicester bounced back the following year to win promotion via the Play-Offs with Parker himself scoring in the final, while he would later win the third League Cup winner’s medal of his career after beating Middlesbrough in 1997.

Making his last appearance for the club in January 1999, Parker would not officially retire until the end of the 2000/01 season, having already joined the backroom staff at Filbert Street.

Following the departure of Peter Taylor as manager the following season, Parker briefly took charge of the side in October 2001.

Forming part of Celtic’s successful backroom set-up alongside Lennon and Johan Mjallby after joining the club in July 2010, Parker will be keen his time at the Trotters will be just as memorable for the trio. 

Mark Leather
Head of Sports Performance

Boasting experience in the professional game spanning over 25 years including ten seasons in the Premier League as Head of Sports Medicine for both Liverpool and Sunderland, Leather previously worked with the club under the stewardship of Sam Allardyce before returning back in May 2013.

Alongside his exploits in the top flight of English football, Leather has also plied his trade with a variety of other clubs including Brighton & Hove Albion, Preston North End and Burnley as well as holding the position of Head Physiotherapist for Wigan Warriors.

Having obtained a Master’s degree in Sports Physiology and a teaching qualification, Leather has also worked at Edge Hill University where he led the MSc Football Rehabilitation programme.

Dave Dean
Sports Rehabilitator

Dave Dean is part of the Wanderers' medical team and his role represents quite a career change, as he had previously spent 17 years of his life working in a bank.

Despite coming from a completely different industry, Dean does have sporting connections, playing rugby and volleyball and at one point be was the GB women's volleyball coach. 

He was made redundant from his job at the bank which prompted him to go back to college and studied sports therapy at Thameside College for two years before going on to study in more depth at Salford University. 

Part of the course at Salford included a two month work placement the Reebok and after qualifying he was offered a job in the medical department in 2008. 

Dean’s job involves providing a wide range of massage routines to ensure that everyone at the club remains in peak physical condition. 

The massages are not just for players who have picked up a niggle. On the eve of any away matches for example, Dean will travel with the squad and offer massages to players that helps them sleep, which is all part of the team’s preparation. 

He also has to make sure all the stock of medical equipment we may need is readily available, help set up the treatment room and perform any last minute massages that are needed.

Brian Prestidge
Head Of Performance Analysis

Brian Prestidge heads the Performance Analysis team here at Bolton Wanderers.

Despite never playing the game at a professional level, the video analysis that Prestidge carries out means that he is in a position to offer invaluable advice to current members of the playing squad about future opponents as well as their own strengths and weaknesses. 

Born in Plymouth, Prestidge studied sports analysis and coaching at undergraduate level before taking his masters in Cardiff. 

The development in technology in recent years has meant that the standard and detail of analysis has increased accordingly, with everything possible being done to give the team the best chance of collecting as many points as they can on the pitch. 

Prestidge’s work involves going through footage of future opponents as well as Wanderers matches, with a view to aiding improvement on the pitch every piece of meaningful action is observed and selected using bespoke software, to provide the manager and his staff with the necessary information to pass on to the players on a matchday. 

Working hand in hand with the scouts is another aspect of the Performance Analysis unit's daily routine. With access to such a wealth of footage of opposition players, any tips given to Cliff Roberts and his team are gratefully received.

Chris Short
First Team Fitness Coach

Having been involved in the game both as a player and as a coach, Chris Short joined the club in the summer of 2013 as First Team Fitness Coach.

After enjoying spells with the likes of Notts County, Sheffield United and Stoke City during a 15 year professional career, Short went on to secure a BSc Sports Science Degree from Manchester Metropolitan University alongside a diploma in Sports Massage Therapy.

Since his retirement from the game over a decade ago, Short has been employed as a massage therapist with Blackburn Rovers, Sheffield United and Derby County alongside holding the position of first team fitness coach at Crystal Palace, Leicester City and Leeds United.

Heavily experienced in the field, he also enjoyed a spell as Head of Performance at Brad Friedel’s Soccer Academy in Ohio, USA.

In his everyday role, Short is responsible for the conditioning of the players, including rehabilitating gym and Cryotherapy sessions as well as monitoring body compositions and nutritional requirements and conducting warm-up sessions for all players and individuals.

Alongside his duties for the club, the 42-year-old is due to row the English Channel this summer for charity.

Steve Megson
First Team Head Physiotherapist

Steve Megson joined the medical team at the club back in June 2013 from fellow Championship side Leeds United.

Having originally qualified as a sports scientist in 1998, Megson went on to complete a further degree in sports rehabilitation and an MSc in physiotherapy.

Prior to making the move to the Reebok Stadium, Megson worked full-time with the medical team at Leeds United between 2006 and 2013 as a first team physiotherapist – a role which included assisting with youth development as Head of Sports Science and Medicine for the club’s academy alongside his role with the first team.  

Now fully immersed into life with the Whites, Megson is charged with monitoring and treating the fit and injured players alongside holding the responsibility of injury assessment and rehabilitation, injury prevention, training and match day preparation, medical screening and performance enhancement.

Dan Birdsall
Strength & Conditioning Coach

Having spent six years with Morecambe Football Club as Head of Sports Science prior to joining the club in the summer of 2013, Dan Birdsall boasts a degree in Sport and Exercise Science alongside the FA Applied Football Science and Conditioning award.

Wholly experienced in the field, Birdsall provides sports science advice and feedback to Dougie Freedman and his coaching staff on a daily basis and works closely with the medical department during gym based rehabilitation of injured players.

Providing each player with a tailored recovery plan following matches and training, he also works closely with the medical department during gym based rehabilitation of injured players and structures the general conditioning program for the whole squad focusing on improving strength and power whilst reducing the risk of injury. 

Kristian Aldred
First Team Sports Scientist

After securing a 1st class honours degree in Sport & Exercise Science and an MSc in Sport & Exercise Science Physiology at the University of Central Lancashire in 2011, Kristian Aldred joined the club in the same year as a Sport Science intern.

Originally brought in to support the academy squad, Aldred progressed to work within Wanderers’ development squad set-up before joining the first team backroom staff in the summer of 2013.

Alongside monitoring the daily training load and producing summaries of collected data to ensure that the players are at the peak of fitness, Aldred also administers Cryotheraphy sessions and assists other members of the medical department with gym and field based conditioning sessions.

Matt Fox
Assistant First Team Physiotherpaist

A key member of the club’s backroom staff, Matt Fox boasts a plethora of experience.

After qualifying as a physiotherapist in 2001 with a degree in Sports Science, Fox later completed a conversion degree to Physiotherapy and graduated from Teesside University in 2004.

Alongside his studies, he spent three years working for the NHS and four with Manchester City’s academy before joining the club as Head Academy Physiotherapist in 2008.

Now a part of the first team set-up at the Reebok Stadium, Fox’s role requires him to assist with the rehabilitation of injured players alongside the preparation of players for training and matches.

Outside of the game, he is currently working towards an MSc in Manual Therapy at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Alan Watmough
Soft Tissue Therapist

Now in his second full season as a member of the club’s medical department following eight years with Preston North End, Alan Watmough works full time with the first team squad with his role requiring him to administer both pre and post training treatments of all players.

Working under the supervision of Head Physiotherapist Steve Megson, Watmough helps to form part of the rehabilitation treatment of injured players as and when required and provides soft tissue work on matchdays alongside assisting in setting up medical and nutritional equipment.

Outside of his role with the club, he also works in a well-established chiropractic clinic.