Cup Tie Intrigues McCann
Ex-Blue interested by Everton's fourth round tie against Bolton.
The FA Cup fourth round has pitted Everton against Bolton Wanderers – a tie which is of particular interest to one former Blue.
Gavin McCann represented both clubs during his 15-year career, bookending his playing days with stints at Goodison Park and the Reebok Stadium.
Understandably, the 35-year-old still holds a soft spot for the Toffees. They were the club that gave him his break, setting him out on a professional career that was to include 350 senior appearances and one treasured England cap.
Despite his affinity with the Blues, McCann also continues to have links with Bolton. He now coaches within their academy, a role he took up after retiring from the game in 2011.
McCann is predicting an entertaining cup encounter between his past and present employers, although he is warning Everton that they should not underestimate Bolton – a side which still contain several of his former team mates.
“Bolton did well beating Sunderland, but they are now obviously in the Championship. With Everton being in the Premier League you would fancy them to win, but anything can happen in the FA Cup,” McCann told evertonfc.com.
“It should be a decent tie and with Bolton winning last night that should give them a bit of confidence – I wouldn’t like to pick it.
“Everton have got a good chance of winning it [the FA Cup] this year, but of course they have to get past Bolton and it’s not going to be a gimme.
“From what I have seen of Everton on the TV, they have been playing really well. Baines has been on fire and so has Pienaar down the left.
“You’ve got my old mate Ossie in the middle and Fellaini has been good too. Everton are decent and have got some really good players.”
McCann won’t be at the Reebok Stadium a week on Saturday - he has a date at Ewen Fields instead.
As well as his duties with Bolton, he is also assistant manager at Hyde, who entertain Ebbsfleet United that afternoon.
McCann and boss Scott McNiven took over the Conference Premier club in the summer and have made a solid start to life in the division after the Tigers’ promotion last season.
“If I hadn’t got injured and had to retire with my ankle problem, I don’t think I would have gone down this route,” McCann said.
“When I got injured I didn’t really know what I was going to do because I was only 31.
“I had a word with the academy director at Bolton, Jimmy Phillips, and asked if I could help out coaching the kids. Things have gone on from there, I’ve got my badges and I have just kept getting on with it.
“I’m really enjoying my job with Hyde and we are doing okay considering we are a part-time club in a full-time league.
“It was tough at the beginning but we have picked up now. We’ve done alright and are sat in mid-table, but we just need to stay in the league.
“It’s a lot different to coaching the kids at Bolton. Training sessions are different, plus you have to be careful with the language you use! It's been enjoyable and hopefully we can achieve our aim of staying in the league.
“We’ve got a chance. Phil Jevons is here with us now and even though he’s 33, he is still banging the goals in for us.”
Asked if he fancied lacing his boots again and taking on a player-coach role, McCann added:
“There’s no chance I’m going to come out of retirement. The only games I will be playing now are veterans’ matches here and there!”