Owen Coyle Bolton Bound?

Brian RhodesSenior Analyst IJanuary 5, 2010

The sacking of Bolton manager Gary Megson after the 2-2 draw against relegation rivals Hull City has increased the speculation that Burnley's Owen Coyle is Phil Gartside's first choice as Bolton's new manager.

Gartside, the Bolton Chairman had originally had the ex-Trotter's striker on his short list for the open manager's position two-and-a-half years ago when he appointed Megson. It was on the advice of Gartside, that Burnley appointed the Scotsman, Coyle at Turf Moor. 

Coyle's tenure at Turf Moor has been nothing short of miraculous. Since retiring form his playing career as a journeyman striker, which took in 13 clubs. The 43-year-old manager has slowly grown into a very good manager.

After successful stints in Scotland managing Falkirk and St Johnstone, Coyle lead the Saints to two Scottish Cup semifinals (loosing both) and helping them to the Scottish Challenge Cup final.

However, the week before the final he took over at Turf Moor when a compensation package between the two clubs was agreed. St Johnstone went on the win the Cup in his absence.

Coyle's time in the Championship was highly successful. In his first season at Turf Moor, he lead the Clarets to a solid mid-table finish.

His second season in charge he lead them to an historic League cup campaign with victories over Premiership opposition in Fulham, Chelsea and Arsenal in the quarter-final with a 2-0 victory.

In the two-leg semifinal, the Clarets lost to Tottenham Hotspurs but in highly dramatic fashion. After a humbling 4-1 defeat to Spurs at White Hart Lane, Burnley took the Premiership side to extra time with a dramatic 3-0 victory in normal time, which leveled the aggregate score but with three minutes of extra time remaining Roman Pavlyuchenko scored to send the Clarets out of the competition.

However, more importantly for Coyle and Burnley, his side won a place in the Championship play-offs and went on to win promotion to the Premiership for the first time in their history. A one-nil victory over Sheffield United at Wembley Stadium was enough to seal promotion.

After Promotion, Coyle made some astute signings, not least Steven Fletcher from Hibernian in Scotland for a club record fee of £3 million. Coyle's Burnley side hit the ground running, and soon showed the Premiership just how good his team was, with some impressive results.

Victories over established Premiership sides Manchester United, Sunderland, and Everton, and draws against Arsenal, Aston Villa, and Manchester City soon proved that Coyle had built a side that wasn't in the Premiership to make up the numbers.

However, with Coyle's success came suitors. In this case, his old club, Bolton Wanderers.

Initially, Coyle stated that his focus was on Burnley and fighting to keep the Clarets in the Premier League. However, after further enquiries Coyle expressed his desire to join Bolton Wanderers. It is believed that after Burnley allowed Coyle to talk to Bolton, Coyle and Gartside soon agreed terms.

In a club statement, "Senior Burnley Football Club officials have, on Monday evening, held detailed talks with first team manager Owen Coyle over his future at Turf Moor.

"As a result of these talks over Coyle's future with his current employers, both parties have decided to take a further 24 hours to digest the information shared before making any further announcement.

"There will be no further comment during this time from Burnley Football Club or Owen Coyle."

It is rumored that the two clubs are now ironing out a compensation package due to the 12-month extended contract that Coyle signed at Turf Moor. The compensation package is believed to be in the region of £3 million.

The exit of Coyle, could be devastating for the Clarets who are only five places above Bolton in 14-place in the division with only two more points then their Lancashire rivals.

It is believed that Manchester United assistant manager Michael Phelan is the fans favourite to take the position if Coyles departure is confirmed, with Lee Clark and Paul Jewell also in contention.