Bolton boss wants to keep star striker

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Bolton manager Owen Coyle believes he is in with a realistic chance of persuading Johan Elmander to agree a new long-term deal.

Elmander, whose current deal expires in the summer, has caught the eye this season and will be looking to improve his eight-goal tally against Blackburn on Sunday. The club are in talks with his agent but the Swede has indicated he will wait until the end of the season before deciding on his future.

Coyle said: "I know Johan is happy. That goes without saying. You can see it in his performances. He would not be performing like he is and playing well if he was not content."

The Trotters boss added: "He came with a big price tag and reputation but he has always applied himself in terms of his work rate.

"The longer he is here the better chance I have of retaining him for a further period. We will continue the dialogue."

Coyle, who arrived from Burnley in January, will welcome former Bolton boss Sam Allardyce to the Reebok Stadium for the first time. He has nothing but respect for his managerial counterpart, who led the club into Europe for the first time under his stewardship.

Allardyce brought in top names like Youri Djorkaeff, Jay-Jay Okocha and Fernando Hierro. He also resurrected the career of current Bolton skipper Kevin Davies.

Coyle rails at suggestions that Allardyce is nothing more than a long-ball specialist and said: "I do not buy into that perception.

"Blackburn have terrific players. They are a team that are far more than people think they are. David Dunn is a quality player, (El-Hadji) Diouf can play, so too can (Morten Gamst) Pedersen.

"If you look at some of the quality players who played under Sam at Bolton getting them in was a marvellous achievement. He poured his heart and soul into the job. He laid the foundations of everything that goes on at this club. He is a huge part of Bolton's history, the fans know that."

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Bolton Wanderers
Premier League
Johan Elmander

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