Animated Parkinson 'Shocked' by Reaction to Connell Sub

  • January 30, 2019 | By Chris Mann
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Phil Parkinson has defended his decision to substitute Luca Connell in Bolton's draw with Reading, after sparking fury amongst supporters.

Connell, who made his first senior start in Friday's FA Cup exit at the hands of Bristol City, was handed a full Championship debut against the Royals and played for 72 minutes before being replaced by Joe Pritchard.

That substitution was met with an echo of boos at the University of Bolton Stadium, with fans also voicing their displeasure with chants of 'You don't know what you're doing' and 'You're getting sacked in the morning' in the direction of the manager.

Speaking after the game, which ended in a 1-1 draw, Parkinson admitted he was 'shocked' by the reaction, saying fans need to consider the impact two games in the space of five days will have had on a 17-year-old's body.

"We as a staff and medical team thought long and hard about whether to play him tonight as he still looked a little bit leggy from Friday, but we played him with the thought in our mind that he was always going to come off around 60 minutes," Parkinson told

"It was clear to everyone on the bench that he needed to come off and I was shocked at the reaction because I thought the supporters would understand that one thing we do not want to do is get one of our young players injured.

"The demands of playing first-team football from youth-team football is absolutely huge on a young player's body, and I'm protecting our young players with my decisions.

"It was a tough call to start him, but he deserved it and he was outstanding, but I was shocked at the reaction as we weren't only bringing him off, but we were putting another young player on in Joe Pritchard.

"From that point, it was a difficult atmosphere to play in and that's why I'm so proud of the way the lads kept their concentration even with the penalty and got themselves back in the game."

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