Bolton ready for European adventure

Bolton Wanderers FC will compete in Europe for the first time next season after qualifying for the UEFA Cup.

Bolton Wanderers FC assistant manager Phil Brown praised manager Sam Allardyce for leading the Lancashire club into European football for the first time after Saturday's 1-1 draw against Portsmouth FC at Fratton Park guaranteed a place in the UEFA Cup next season.

Diouf goal
Bolton striker El-Hadji Diouf, on loan from Liverpool FC, raced through in the eleventh minute to open the scoring before Portsmouth striker Aiyegbeni Yakubu bundled in an equaliser on 72 minutes. The draw ensured Bolton can finish no lower than seventh, good enough for a place in the UEFA Cup regardless of their result at home to Everton FC on the final day of the season next week.

'Crowning glory'
"We're delighted, but it's not just about one season," Brown said in the absence of Allardyce who left Fratton Park immediately after the match. "There has been a gradual build-up to this and all the time I've worked with Sam it's been a vision of ours to get into Europe. Now it's his crowning glory."

'Great achievement'
Brown added: "It's a great achievement for the club and for everyone concerned, it's the biggest goal we could have set out to achieve and we've done it, although you might not think 'Bolton in Europe' exactly rolls off the tongue."

Other hopefuls
Still competing for European places are city rivals Liverpool FC and Everton, who are vying for a UEFA Champions League place, while Middlesbrough FC, Manchester City FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC do battle for the third UEFA Cup spot. Middlesbrough are away to Manchester City next week while Tottenham are at home to Blackburn Rovers FC.