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Bolton Wanderers boss Neil Lennon is reluctantly facing up to the possibility of losing a number of influential players in January to keep the club afloat.
The Whites are in desperate need of short-term cash to keep their options open in their hunt for a new buyer, while a date in the High Court in the New Year in the wake of an unpaid tax bill has put further strain on the Championship club.
Lennon has admitted that he expects vultures to circle for the likes of youngster Zach Clough and goalkeeper Ben Amos when the transfer window reopens.
“It’s a realistic possibility,” he told The Bolton News. “We haven’t had vultures circling us yet, but I’m sure they will come.
“That is a scenario we may have to face. It’s not ideal but we’re talking about people’s livelihoods and salaries, getting this club through difficult times. If that’s what needs to be done, I’ll do it.
“We may have to bring some of the younger players through if we have to sell some of the senior ones, and that’s fine.”
And Lennon is hopeful that any revenue generated from a sale can be a springboard in the right direction for the club.
“Obviously we can’t get players in right now,” he added. “But I am always looking at them and I have contingency plans if the situation does change.
“The situation at the club may make it harder to attract players but it might work the other way as well. If we get a sale then they may think the club has turned a corner and players may want to be part of the ‘new broom’ if you want to put it like that.”
Tributes flooded in throughout the Football League following the sad news of Jimmy Hill’s passing at the age of 87.
One of English football’s most influential figures, Hill led the campaign for the scrapping of maximum wages for professional footballers during his time as chairman of the Professional Footballers’ Association.
The London born footballer played 297 games for Fulham and the club’s players wore black armbands in the wake of the news during their 2-2 draw at Bolton.
Fulham senior coach Stuart Gray said: “Jimmy was a fantastic servant to Fulham and a wonderful guy. I met him two or three times. It’s a very sad occasion.
“We showed our respect by wearing black armbands today and I would have thought that, at our next home game, there will be a minute’s silence or a minute’s applause.”
Hill later became a manager with Coventry City, of whom he would go on to be chairman before presenting the BBC’s Match of the Day over 600 times.
Coventry manager Tony Mowbray added: “There’s a huge picture of Jimmy Hill in our dressing room,” Sky Blues boss Tony Mowbray told BBC Coventry & Warwickshire after his side’s 1-1 draw on Saturday.
“He was a visionary in an era when football needed pushing on. He pushed football forward at a rate to where it is today.
“The modern footballer has a lot to thank Jimmy Hill for, and this football club is in his debt many times over for what he brought to this club.
“It is a very sad day for his family and for everyone at this club.”
Brighton and Hove Albion
Brighton’s 21-game unbeaten start to the Championship season came to an end with defeat at fellow promotion candidates Middlesbrough, but Seagulls boss Chris Hughton insisted that he will not let his side’s momentum falter.
“We’ve enjoyed it and I don’t necessarily feel that it was a real pressure of it being there, but we’ll have to wait and see.” Said Hughton of his side’s start to the season after slumping to a 3-0 loss on Teesside.
“We’ve not been in this position. Everything that the players have given us this season has been as much about being motivated, as they are, and staying in the top group of teams, as they are.
“It just so happens we came unstuck but we’ll dust everyone down and make sure that we can go again.”
After a first league defeat since April, Hughton and his team were congratulated on their run by ex-Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho after the match.
Hughton added: “Jose came in to see me afterwards, which was very nice of him. I would imagine, predominantly, he was at the game due to his association with the Middlesbrough manager but he did come in to see us afterwards.
“He wished us all the best, he spoke about the run that we’d been on. He knows the Championship very well and I just wished him all the best and look forward to seeing him back in the game very soon.”