Belfast Telegraph

The Punter: McCarthy among favourites to replace Coyle at Bolton

Bolton, relegated from the Premiership at the end of last season, had high ambitions for an immediate return.

But Owen Coyle has discovered the harsh reality of Championship competitiveness and just how difficult it is to make a quick return to the top level. And now he has followed Blackburn Rovers' Steve Kean out the managerial door after a very poor start to a season which saw them among the favourites for promotion.

But with only three wins from the opening 10 matches, Bolton are out to 5/1 for a Premiership return but after Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Millwall, owner Eddie Davies and chairman Phil Gartside finally ran out of patience.

Past achievements in reaching the FA Cup semi-finals in 2011, finishing 14th in the Premiership and Coyle's handling of the near tragedy surrounding Fabrice Muamba after the player suffered a life-threatening heart attack at Tottenham, are soon forgotten.

And so the managerial merry-go-round is up and running again with former Republic of Ireland, Sunderland and Wolves manager Mick McCarthy heading the market at 5/2 to take over. The list of potential replacements is sure to be long with all the usual contenders getting a mention.

McCarthy's old enemy Roy Keane is quoted at 12/1 but it will be a major surprise if Roy gets the nod, despite having taken Sunderland up in 2007. He was sacked at Ipswich after they slumped to 19th in the Championship in January 2011.

Others liklely to be considered are Alex McLeish, only 5/1 in places but as big as 14/1 elsewhere, while Alan Curbishly is well worth a shout at 16/1.

Bolton are 33/1 to slip down to League One while it's 11/10 that Coyle's next job will be in the Championship and 13/2 he returns in the Premier League in which Mark Hughes is the 5/4 favourite to be the first manager to leave his current post.

After their demolition job on Newcastle, Man United are 9/4 for Premier League glory. It a price worth taking as it's likely they'll only get shorter as the season progresses. Man City look false favourites (13/8) while Chelsea are outstanding value at 3/1 with a four-point lead. Backing both United and Chelsea should ensure a profit come next May.

Belfast Telegraph

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