Phil Parkinson calls on rivals not to write off Bolton in survival fight

Bolton manager Phil Parkinson defiantly warned his club’s rivals not to write the Trotters off after they put a troubled week behind them with a 2-1 victory over relegation rivals Millwall.

Second-half goals from Polish right-back Pawel Olkowski and veteran midfielder Gary O’Neil ensured Lee Gregory’s 87th-minute strike was only consolation for the FA Cup quarter-finalists.

“We are back in it,” said Parkinson despite a five-point gap to fourth bottom Millwall.

“People know not to write us off because we have got a spirit in the camp running all through the staff and players and we showed that today.”

Parkinson, serving the first of a two-game touchline ban, and his players remain to be paid their February wages with a protracted takeover still to be completed.

However, Parkinson added: “There is positive news filtering about the place and I could feel there was a lift in the stadium because of that.

“The players have gone through a lot this week and so has the club. But we spoke about ‘not could we put it behind us but we have to put it behind us.’

“Millwall are a team we have got to target to bring back into the relegation battle. The only way we could do that was to beat them today.

“We stuck to our job, concentrated for 99 per cent of the game and deserved the win.”

O’Neil’s superb solo goal after 60 minutes eventually proved the difference between the sides.

“Gaz is top class and belies his age,” said Parkinson. “Physically, every match, his stats are up there.

“But it’s the moments of quality which he brings to the party. And that was a fantastic individual goal.”

Manager Neil Harris described Millwall’s fourth successive defeat as “poor and disappointing.”

“It was one I didn’t expect,” added Harris who insists Championship survival and not a potential semi-final trip to Wembley remains the priority.

“The cup game (against Brighton) at the Den will be a good occasion and exciting for the fans,” he said.

“Our priority though is the league and all I am focusing on is Birmingham away on Wednesday. It is a huge game after four defeats in a row.

“The first half was scrappy but I spoke at half-time about still doing the nitty-gritty stuff while adding the quality lacking in the first half.

“But the goals we gave away were poor one v one defending when the players didn’t do enough. That’s not acceptable.

“People had jobs to do and Gary O’Neil who isn’t a spring chicken anymore ran virtually from his own box to the other end of the pitch and score.

“We had three players behind the ball before he gets his shot away.

“The positive thing is to get Lee Gregory back on the score sheet which is a plus.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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