Jimmy Aiming To Sign Off In Style

Jimmy Phillips looks ahead to the weekend trip to the Riverside Stadium

Jimmy Phillips is confident that he can end his three-game stint at the helm of the first team with a proud unbeaten record this Saturday.

Dougie Freedman was appointed as the club's new manager on Thursday and will take a watching brief at the Riverside Stadium where Phillips, Sammy Lee and Julian Darby will lead Bolton into battle against Middlesbrough. 

Phillips said: “We always said that we would do the job for as long as we were asked to. So far we have taken four points out of two games and we want to continue that run so Dougie can come in and take over a group of players who have got their confidence and self-belief back.

“I’ve enjoyed being the caretaker manager and I’ve enjoyed getting the positive reaction from the players with our methods. They are showing the ability they have and we look forward to going to Middlesbrough to hopefully get a result.

“The unsettling time for the players was when they were in limbo not knowing who the next manager was. Now they know who he is and they will get the opportunity to meet him.

“I’ve had a brief chat with Dougie and he said that he would like to introduce himself to the players today (Friday) and he will watch the match from the directors’ box on Saturday.

“He will start his work on Monday. I think that is the sensible thing to do because I don’t believe you can influence players in one day of training, telling them what you want out of the game in terms of a performance.

“Starting Monday will give him give five days to prepare the team for Cardiff, which is a good way to start.”

Phillips and his coaching team were hard at work at Euxton on Friday, preparing the players for what will be a testing trip to the North-East.

Middlesbrough have climbed to third place in the Championship table after taking ten points from the last 12 available.

“We watched the DVDs and they certainly seem to be an attacking team,” Phillips explained. “They are very much capable of scoring some great goals, with 25-yard strikes.

“I know the Boro fans will be pleased with what they are seeing because Tony (Mowbray) has got them playing some good football.

"It will be a difficult game for us but our players are playing with confidence, so it should make for another attractive game of football for the neutral.

“I just hope that in my last game as interim manager that we can come away with a minimum of one point from the game."

Saturday will signal a return to Middlesbrough for Phillips, who played at Ayresome Park for three years in between his two spells with Bolton. 

He added: “I joined the Boro when they were bottom of the Championship at the time and we went into the last game against Newcastle. They had to win to get in the play-offs and we had to win to stay in the league. We beat them 4-1 at Ayresome Park.

“The following year we lost in the play-offs to Notts County and then Lenny Lawrence came in and got us promoted to play in the first year of the Premier League. Things slid away after Christmas and we got relegated, so it was certainly a rollercoaster during my time at the Boro.

“I’m pleased to see that people like Mark Proctor and Stephen Pears are part of the setup, while Colin Cooper is running the academy team. These are all players I played with, plus I also had a season with Tony Mowbray before he moved to Celtic in 1991.

“There are a lot of footballing people up there and like ourselves they have people who know the club in roles that are helping the players of today.”

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