Friday 9 December 2016

Cahill's departure point

BOLTON 1 WOLVES 1

Graham Chase

Published 01/01/2012 | 05:00

As Owen Coyle prepared to say farewell to Gary Cahill it was another of the Scot's former prodigies that robbed him of three points at the Reebok.

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England centre-back Cahill captained the hosts on what is sure to be his final appearance for the club before a £7m move to Chelsea. But after Sam Ricketts gave the hosts the lead, Steven Fletcher, who was first brought south when he joined Coyle at Burnley, cancelled that out with his eighth goal of the season just after the interval.

Despite Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas claiming that Cahill and the Stamford Bridge club are "miles apart" over personal terms, Coyle is confident that the deal will go through.

New York Red Bulls defender Tim Ream is expected to arrive as the centre-back's immediate replacement, but the departure of Cahill, whose current contract expires at the end of the season, does not bode well for a team with the worst defensive record in the Premier League.

With Everton, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal to come, Coyle needs reinforcements soon to avoid this becoming a desperate start to the new year. The transfer fee is not a bad one, given that Bolton were only being offered £6m up front in the summer, but the way the money is reinvested could have far-reaching consequences for the club's future.

"Andre was talking about what happened in the one meeting, and I must stress it was one meeting with Chelsea," Coyle said. "But with the game coming up I had to make sure Gary was mentally right. Gary has not spoken to Chelsea yet.

"You are going to be apart in the first meeting, that is how negotiations work. I know his [Cahill] character and he was focused. His performance was terrific."

"At half time I wondered if we had turned up," Wolves boss Mick McCarthy said. "We played well second half but we needed to because we had been bang awful before that."

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