LEEDS United’s visit to the Macron Stadium in the fourth round of the FA Cup will provide beleaguered Bolton Wanderers with another financial lifeline.
Bolton avoided becoming the highest profile football club in England to be liquidated at the High Court on Monday.
Financially-stricken Wanderers owe HM Revenue and Customs £2.2m but, despite the taxman’s attempts to have the club wound-up, the bottom-placed Championship side, who were playing in the top flight only four years ago, were given a five-week extension to find a solution to their cash problems.
Then, last night, Bolton overcame non-league Eastleigh 3-2 at home in a thrilling third-round replay to earn a home tie against Leeds at the end of the month.
Around 5,000 Leeds fans could make the trip for the Roses encounter, Steve Evans’s side having gone through with a 2-0 Yorkshire derby triumph against Rotherham United.
Winners of the fourth round encounter will pocket £90,000 and the prospect of drawing a top Premier League side in the last 16.
By then, Leeds will be without £3.7m West Ham-bound Sam Byram and Bolton, echoing United’s financial problems of the past, could have lost several of their top players in the January transfer window in order to pay the taxman.
Wanderers are in active negotiations with four interested parties regarding a takeover and are also on the verge of selling a car park at their ground, which is adjacent to the Middlebrook Retail Park, to provide short-term funding.
Bolton’s slide into the mire has accelerated in the final year they will receive Premier League parachute payments because supporter and owner Eddie Davies has pulled the plug on his financial backing.
He is willing to wipe out £185m of debt owed to him as part of any deal and the club has many attractive qualities for potential investors due to the fact they own assets - including their stadium, the hotel which resides in it and their training ground.
Transfers for Mark Davies and Zach Clough - which would have raised over £2m - fell through last week; offices at the ground were sold to subsidise wages in December and pay off a loan, and the training ground, like the car park, may soon be offloaded too.
Bolton’s replay win was just the second time in their 30 games this season that Neil Lennon’s men had managed to score three times in a game, and it was just their third win of the season.