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Thompson arrival timely for injured Trotters

Bolton boss Sam Allardyce is desperate for some relief from the injury crisis which is threatening to shatter his side's hopes of qualifying for Europe.

Allardyce saw his problems mount during last night's 1-1 draw against struggling Charlton, with Nicolas Anelka, Abdoulaye Faye and Stelios Giannakopoulos all picking up knocks.

Now new boy David Thompson - signed with just hours left of the transfer window from Portsmouth for a nominal fee - may find himself pressed into first-team action sooner than expected.

Allardyce said: 'The injuries piled up on us today and it is testing our squad to the full at the moment. Our inexperienced players did well but we cannot keep relying on them.

'It is very sad that we have not pulled three points out of the bag. It has been a really dismal January for us in the Premiership. We did enough to win comfortably but could not find the ultimate quality.'

Allardyce welcomed Thompson's transfer from Fratton Park with the 29-year-old returning to the north west just months after his free transfer to the south coast from Wigan last summer.

The former Liverpool, Blackburn and Latics midfielder made 15 appearances for Pompey and Allardyce revealed he had been a long-time admirer of the former England Under-21 player who has agreed a deal with the Lancashire club until the end of the season.

He told the club's website: 'I have been an admirer of David Thompson for some time.

'He has the ability to play at this level and will add competition for places in the critical midfield role.

'He is a tenacious, battling midfielder who has an excellent touch.

'David is excited about the prospect of returning to the north west and helping us attain our goal of European qualification at the end of this season.'

Thompson's arrival at the Reebok Stadium is timely as Allardyce expects to be without Anelka for this weekend's trip to rock-bottom Watford after the Frenchman aggravated a calf strain during his side's largely frustrating performance.

The home side were left to rue an uncharacteristic mistake by keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen which presented the visitors with a route back into the match.

Henrik Pedersen had glanced home a Gary Speed cross in the sixth minute to get the home side off to a flyer but six minutes later Jaaskelainen let a Talal El Karkouri free-kick slip out of his hands.

Bolton piled on the pressure for the rest of the match with Ivan Campo, Kevin Nolan and Pedersen again all missing fine chances to seal three points and move their side within two points of Arsenal.

But the battling Addicks managed to take a few breaks from their heroic defensive task, and could even have won it late on when Jerome Thomas burst through but shot straight at Jaaskelainen.

Nevertheless coming so soon after their win at Portsmouth, a point delighted Pardew, whose side are now level on points with his former club West Ham, and just two off fourth-bottom Wigan.

Pardew said: 'We were terrific tonight - the spirit of the team shone through and it puts us in a position where we can attack the next two games with a little bit of freedom.

'We created the best two chances of the second half but you don't get those chances without the spirit, the organisation and the damnation of us and we earned the right.

'Most people will have seen us go 1-0 down and thought that was it but it was not to be and I thought the application we showed out there tonight was absolutely brilliant.'