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Defiant Neil Lennon will fight for his future with Bolton

By Steven Beacom

Neil Lennon has admitted that unless he starts putting a winning Bolton side out on the pitch, it could cost him his job.

The former Northern Ireland captain is coming under increasing scrutiny having guided Bolton to just ONE victory in 15 Championship fixtures this season and knows it is his responsibility to change that dreadful run and take the club out of the relegation zone.

Having had high hopes of making the play-offs at the start of the season, Bolton are third bottom, four points away from safety and today host Bristol City, the side directly above them.

Lennon insists he is under no pressure from the board but knows this is a crucial match for him given they have failed to win in their last nine Championship matches and scoring only once in their last five games.

“I’m not under pressure from upstairs but I know it is a results driven business,” said Lennon. “The fans have been really patient. They want to see us winning. I want to see us winning and ultimately it falls on me to get a winning team on the park.”

Lennon, who after a midweek 2-0 loss to Ipswich Town declared he would not quit despite results, added: “I’m totally motivated and see this as a huge challenge. If we go and get a result the landscape and psychology of things will change.”

The ex-Celtic boss was fuming with his players following their defeat to Ipswich, especially a weak second half display.

He is demanding that his senior players start to step up to the plate.

"I have watched the second half five times and it doesn't get any easier to watch. We didn't do the basics well," said Lennon.

"It is difficult to work on things as a team with the volume of games that we play, but we need senior players to take responsibility and there wasn't enough of that at Ipswich."

One of Bolton's more experienced players, midfielder Jay Spearing, clearly accepts that point.

The former Liverpool man said: "This is down to us. The gaffer has done all he can, the backroom staff have done everything they can to prepare us but we've got to accept that it boils down to what the lads do when we get out there on the pitch."

Meanwhile, one of Lennon's former clubs Nottingham Forest beat fierce rivals Derby County 1-0 at the City Ground, a pitch invasion at the end possibly landing the hosts in trouble.

Forest boss Dougie Freedman was more proud than relieved after his side ended an eight-match winless streak.

Nelson Oliveira's thumping early strike proved the difference as Forest earned a hard-fought 1-0 Championship win against a Derby side that had not lost since August.

"It was never about relief," Freedman said. "I was always more concerned about the football club, what their next move would be.

"It means more than three points," Freedman said.

"It was a huge moment for us. I thought we deserved that win," he added.

Belfast Telegraph


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