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Bolton boss Owen Coyle has filled hole left by Sam Allardyce, says Kevin Davies

20 Dec 2010 15:16:09

Bolton boss Owen Coyle has filled hole left by Sam Allardyce, says Kevin Davies

Keep on smiling: Coyle gives instruction at Sunderland Don't be surprised if Owen Coyle's reaction to Bolton's fourth defeat of the season is to head straight to the ping pong table. After all, he does have a proud unbeaten record to defend. The Wanderers manager will demand his players walk into the training ground with smiles on their faces, despite being turned over by Sunderland on Saturday. It is an unwritten rule. 'When we come in on a Monday morning, and it will be the same this week, you can never tell whether we have won or lost,' said his captain Kevin Davies. 'But this is a difficult one to take.' Only Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City have beaten Coyle's Bolton this season and Sunderland's 1-0 victory, which maintained their own unbeaten home record, meant Steve Bruce's side leapfrogged them into joint fifth. It is a mark of the progression Bolton have made since Coyle made the controversial switch from Lancashire rivals Burnley in January that his players left Sunderland's fortress disappointed. Not that you would know it now. Coyle may take his football seriously, as he demonstrated in his frank exchanges with opposite number Steve Bruce as the two managers took very different views on the tackling of Gary Cahill and Lee Cattermole, and whether they should have completed the game. But he has made the Reebok Stadium a pleasure to be at for players and fans, and Davies says the Scot is one of the best he has worked under. He said: 'It is a great place to be and go work at. The way he runs things is right up there with the best I have known. Crushed: Welbeck celebrates scoring the only goal at the Stadium of Light on Saturday 'People say he was just what the club needed and it is certainly working. It has been difficult since Sam left to get anything going and we have been fighting off relegation. It took time to get there but we are in this position now. 'He is a very infectious character and wants players to have a smile on their face all the time. He has great enthusiasm and it rubs off on people. 'He demands a lot from his players. Every day of the week right through to the game. But he wants them to enjoy themselves and express themselves when they play and work hard for each other. 'It is difficult in football to keep 25 grown men happy. A lot of them are internationals and there are some great players and no one is ever happy when they miss out but the has a knack of keeping everyone happy and you see it in games when the subs come on. On the slide: Bolton captain Davies (right) couldn't inspire his side to points at Sunderland 'This club has always had great characters and great players and we certainly have a good mix of that now. We have lads like Blake, Klasnic, Robinson and Holden who are also great characters and good fun.' But even they can't take Coyle's table tennis crown. Support: A Bolton fan braves the North-East chill The fact the manager is even prepared to step over normal barriers to be one of the central figures in the players' games room, clearly speaks volume for his regime. The fact he is unbeaten demands respect. 'You're asking the wrong guy really because I don't play very often,' said the Bolton skipper. 'I got my backside spanked a couple of times by him. 'He is a very competitive guy, and that's typical of him. He does not like losing at anything. It is great that he can have that sort of relationship with his players. It certainly helps. 'There are no cliques. Everyone gets involved and it is the same in training with little competitions and stuff like that. There are always things going on, little tricks and banter. It is just fun. 'And we have always had that at Bolton, we have never been short of it at this club. I do think that is what kept us up last season because without it we would have gone down, no doubt about it in my mind. 'It speaks volumes that we leave here disappointed but we just have to bounce back. We have only really lost to the big teams but we will get back together and get ready for West Brom on Boxing Day.'  Sunderland 1 Bolton 0: I made an even better save for Hearts, says GordonCoyle sees red with Bruce after saying Cattermole should have been sent offAll I want for Xmas... Sportsmail's club-by-club Premier League wishlistBOLTON WANDERERS FC


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