‘I don’t want to be thrown under a bus’ – that’s the message from Bolton boss Keith Hill as he looks to justify his position as manager for next season.
The beleaguered Trotters are heading for League Two football next season and have just one win in 13 matches, but as Hill told the Bolton News, the size of the task always meant he faced an uphill struggle.
He joined a side with a 12-point deduction and a squad of players primarily harvested from the youth team. He had to sign a raft of loan players and free transfers in the summer, then start again in January after key figures such as Jake Wright and Liam Bridcutt left the club.
With relegation virtually a certainty, Hill is definitely claiming he needs more time at the helm as part of the long-term project.
“It has always been a long-term plan but there seems to be a short-term debate,” he said.
“I think that’s pretty unfair. I don’t remember any debates last season, except around Ken Anderson. There seems to be a lot of debates around my future at the football club, which I think is a bit crass.”
The former Rochdale and Barnsley manager doesn’t believe his task has changed since the beginning of the season, despite the woeful form.
“My remit shouldn’t have changed. I previously mentioned some time ago that I shouldn’t be seen as the fall guy for what has happened at this club. I wouldn’t want to be thrown under the bus.”
Bolton face Accrington Stanley tomorrow and could be relegated as early as March.
Hill is right and wrong. He shouldn’t be thrown under a bus for the relegation, that was more or less assured in the summer. However, there was a possibility of overturning the gap between them and safety, especially without expected punishment for postponing Doncaster and cancelling Brentford last season.
What he is accountable for is the lack of fight some decent players showed. Politic, Darcy, Verlinden, Bridcutt, Wright and a handful of others looked a decent prospect in the first half of the season.
Injuries did bite hard though and to fire Hill would still seem grossly unfair.