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Jimmy Phillips Ready To Make Big Calls Ahead Of Boro

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You'd be hard-pressed to find someone who isn't happy with the job that caretaker manager Jimmy Phillips has done in his short time at the helm of Bolton Wanderers.

Chris Brunskill

Four points from two games is the points per game is the goal that Owen Coyle and Phil Gartside set at the beginning of the season. The Trotters also faced a tough test against a very strong Wolverhampton Wanderers side and showed the same grit and determination that they had against Bristol City.

In that stretch, Jimmy Phillips has not had his controversial decisions, mind. Zat Knight has been nonexistent in his setup, favoring a central back two of Tim Ream and Matt Mills while Benik Afobe has been given time up front, a decision that paid off (in terms of a goal) against Wolves. Yet, for Jimmy, the key is being flexible to adapt to the changes and roll with the punches, something that Owen Coyle seemed completely unable to do.

Phillips spoke about his time in an interview with the Bolton News

"It's whatever works to get the result," he said. "I didn't anticipate having to play three at the back (at Wolves), or having to throw a midfielder (Keith Andrews) on to get us a goal, but I think it was a gamble worth taking.

"Putting Kevin back there at centre-back, I was confident he'd do a good job, because the experience he's got as a player - I knew he wouldn't let us down.

"You have to be willing to try little things. Sometimes they work, sometimes you have to change again. But it's important to be flexible."

Phillips has a tough call ahead of tomorrow's Middlesbrough match in Matt Mills. The central defender has apparently been unable to shake off a hamstring injury and this could lead to one of two things: A recall of Zat Knight (who has played in one reserve match in the last two weeks) or starting Sam Ricketts at center back, an option that we explored statistically and one that doesn't sound too bad.

"There hasn't been an issue with Zat whatsoever. We decided to give Tim Ream a run and the thought behind it was that he's a quicker defender.

"We just felt with the pace at the back we could squeeze the play a little bit more.

"Having said that, we knew that come set plays we might leave ourselves a bit short."

Whatever the result tomorrow, Jimmy will be able to leave with the knowledge that he has done an excellent job.