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Wenger: Future will be clearer this week

Arsenal
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Solskjaer favourite for Bolton job

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has emerged as the leading candidate to replace Owen Coyle as Bolton manager.

Bolton chairman Phil Gartside is looking to open talks with the former Manchester United striker, who took charge of Molde in January 2011 and led them to the title.

Having already been linked with the vacant manager's job at Blackburn, speculation surrounding Solskjaer's future increased on Thursday when he pulled out of a scheduled appearance at the Leaders In Football conference in London, although his representatives put his absence down to illness.

It is understood that no discussions have yet taken place between Solskjaer and Bolton, with Gartside and Eddie Davies, the club's Isle of Man-based owner, prepared to be patient to ensure they make the right appointment.

Solskjaer, for his part, is keen to avoid unnecessary confrontation with Molde owner Kjell Inge Rokke, who reacted angrily when the 39-year-old held talks with Aston Villa during the summer. The Molde manager ended up pulling out of the running for the Villa post, which went to Paul Lambert.

Bolton legend Alan Gowling urged the club to open talks with Solskjaer. "The chairman has to get it right and give Bolton a chance to get straight back in the Premier League," Gowling told BBC North West Tonight. "I'd definitely talk to Solskjaer, he's a fresh face."

But there are plenty of other candidates to replace Coyle. Former Wolves manager Mick McCarthy has also been linked, while Swindon's Paolo Di Canio has been touted as an outside chance, although he declared on Thursday that he had not been approached.

Portsmouth manager Michael Appleton has also played down speculation linking him with the job. He told Portsmouth paper The News: "I can't control people linking me to other clubs," he said. "From my point of view, until I'm contacted by Bolton or any other club out there or I'm contacted by the administrator to tell me there's an interest I'll continue to work with the players."

Coyle was sacked on Tuesday with the club, who have set their sights on promotion following last season's relegation from the Premier League, lying 18th in the Championship with three wins from ten matches.

Academy coaches Sammy Lee and Jimmy Phillips have taken temporary charge of first-team affairs at Bolton, and are preparing the team for their next Championship match, at home to Bristol City a week on Saturday.

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