Kean on the brink as Coyle enjoys the spoils

BLACKBURN 1

BOLTON 2

BLACKBURN manager Steve Kean edged closer to the sack last night after the club’s fans staged angry demonstrations against him and owners Venky’s before, during and after last night’s defeat against relegation rivals Bolton.

First half goals from Mark Davies and Nigel Reo-Cocker put the visitors, who had lost their previous five matches, in the ascendancy. And although Yakubu halved the deficit with a typically accomplished finish midway through the second period, Bolton clung on for a victory that lifted them off the bottom.

Defeat means Blackburn will occupy last place at Christmas, an ignominy which has resulted in every team, bar West Brom in 2004/05, being relegated from the top flight since the inaugural Premier League season of 1992/93.

Despite his seemingly untenable position an upbeat Kean, whose side have won just twice in the league all season, anticipates still being in charge for the Boxing Day fixture against Liverpool at Anfield.

“I expect to be here on Boxing Day,” said Kean. “I would be completely shocked if the owners decide to replace me, yes.

“There is no board meeting tomorrow. I spoke to the owners prior to the game and I spoke to them at length yesterday.”

Coyle, whose own future was the subject of conjecture ahead of last night’s absorbing local skirmish, admitted he was relieved to have come out victorious but extended sympathy to his fellow Scot.

He said: “As a manager I feel for him because it could easily have been the shoe on the other foot. He’s a great lad. I’ve no doubts he’s a terrific manager. You can see the spirit the Blackburn players have for Steve.

“But one of us was going to be smiling more than the other tonight – barring the draw – and I’m delighted to come out on the right side of the result.”