Belfast Telegraph

FA Cup: Eastleigh replay can give Bolton boss Neil Lennon a lift

By Staff Reporter

As Darren Pratley, Bolton's captain, left the pitch at Eastleigh on Saturday, minutes after scoring a late equaliser to earn a 1-1 draw, he turned to an opponent and pointed out this had done more than save Wanderers from embarrassment.

The four-time FA Cup winners needed the cash reward of a replay every bit as much as their non-league hosts.

Yet the truth is, the Championship strugglers need it more.

Eastleigh are bankrolled by insurance tycoon Stewart Donald, who has pledged to keep investing. Bolton's long-time millionaire benefactor, kettle thermostat producer Eddie Davies, has run out of available cash.

The club are £170m-plus in debt, face a winding-up petition from HMRC and are desperately selling players to stay afloat.

Two of them, Zach Clough and Mark Davies, were withdrawn from the squad to pursue moves, reportedly to Bristol City and Sheffield Wednesday respectively; Josh Vela is set to follow.

Manager Neil Lennon said: "It's not ideal when you're trying to prepare for a game, but this is the position we find ourselves in."

Bolton's players went unpaid in November and Pratley said: "I know people say footballers get paid a lot of money, but football doesn't last for ever. I don't think anyone in our team has got enough money to live on after football."

Dorian Dervite's error could have led to ignominy for Bolton and Lennon, but the Trotters dug deep to force Pratley's scrambled leveller.

A replay is worth around £50,000, plus £72,000 if televised, and £67,500 if they win.

Belfast Telegraph


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