I don’t think the takeover has any impact on me – Gary O’Neil staying focused

Nottingham Forest v AFC Bournemouth – Premier League – The City Ground
(Image credit: Mike Egerton)

Bournemouth interim head coach Gary O’Neil will continue to focus on football as speculation mounts over a takeover at the Vitality Stadium.

A Las Vegas-led consortium, backed by Bill Foley, owner of the Golden Knights ice hockey team, is pushing to buy the south-coast club, who returned to the Premier League again this season after two years out of the top flight.

Reports suggest Cherries owner Maxim Demin, the sole shareholder at Bournemouth since 2019, is close to agreeing to sell up – with a £150million offer said to be on the table.

O’Neil took on first-team duties after Scott Parker was sacked just four Premier League games into the new season.

Since the change in the dugout, which came following a chastening 9-0 defeat at Liverpool, O’Neil has presided over a three-match unbeaten run.

With back-to-back home games against Brentford and Leicester, who are currently bottom, O’Neil feels there is an opportunity to continue to move forwards on the pitch – no matter what might be happening in the boardroom.

“I don’t think the takeover, or whatever is going on in the background, has any impact on myself or the playing squad or how we prepare or how we feel,” O’Neil said.

“It has made no difference to how I felt towards this game and the other games.

“We are just getting ready for another game. The boys are extremely professional and ready to go.

“Anything outside of our dressing room definitely won’t affect us either way. We are just going to be relentless in how we prepare.”

The appointment of a permanent new head coach also appears no closer, but until told otherwise O’Neil will just carry on with the job in hand.

“(Technical director) Richard Hughes and (chief executive) Neil Blake I am in regular contact with, and they keep me up to date on what I need to know,” O’Neil said.

“Obviously I am happy with that and where everything is, but in terms of updates, nothing at all from me.

“I’m not going to share any private internal conversations that we have. I think just the important thing is that I am being kept up to date.

“I know exactly where things are and I am happy with my situation, which is still being tasked to take the team until further notice, which I am delighted to do.”

O’Neil reported no fresh selection concerns following the international break.

“Everyone came back from their internationals well so, I am pleased with that,” he said.

“I am excited for the game, excited to see what boys can do on Saturday.

“It is the first game at home for a while and I can’t wait. The boys are in a good place and I am looking forward to it.”

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