UPDATED: Freedman is the one Whites want

First published in Sport The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , sports writer

Wanderers have taken a giant stride towards appointing Dougie Freedman as their next manager.

The Whites have been granted permission by Crystal Palace to speak with their 38-year-old manager whose team won 1-0 at the Reebok earlier this season.

And while caretakers Jimmy Phillips, Sammy Lee and Julian Darby are set to remain in the dugout at Wolves tonight, it appears Freedman’s appointment could now be imminent after a fortnight of speculation over Owen Coyle’s replacement.

Things moved at pace yesterday with Phillips confirming an approach had been made to Palace for the Scot before the Eagles released an official statement on their website revealing permission for Wanderers to talk to Freedman had been denied.

Then, later in the day, following discussions between the two clubs, the Eagles issued a second statement revealing they would, after all, allow their boss to talk to Reebok chiefs.

The second statement read: “Following further discussions throughout the day, Crystal Palace Football Club can confirm that permission has been granted for Dougie Freedman to speak to Bolton Wanderers regarding their vacant managerial position.”

In a situation bearing similarities to the Whites’ pursuit of former boss Owen Coyle from Burnley almost three years ago, the club’s were initially in a stand-off over the man who steered Palace to the semi-finals of the Carling Cup last season.

But the 38-year-old who is yet to be offered a new deal at Selhurst Park despite only having six months remaining on his current contract is keen on a move north to the Reebok and that could have prompted the change of mind.

Wanderers are unlikely to face the compensation hike they were forced into when targeting Coyle in 2009 but reports they are prepared to offer a three-year deal of £500,000 each season to the Scot remain unconfirmed.

Sources in South London believe that any move would also include a switch for Freedman’s trusted and experienced sidekick at Palace, former Charlton and Middlesbrough boss Lennie Lawrence and his first team coach, the former Republic of Ireland defender, Curtis Fleming.

Wanderers are due to continue talks through today and Wednesday, but insiders at Palace do not think Freedman will be in the dugout for his side's game at Barnsley.

It is also understood that Palace are going to prepare a joint statement from club director Steve Parrish and Freedman at some point tomorrow.

While Wanderers work on that deal behind the scenes today, Phillips and his fellow coaches remain in charge for tonight’s trip to Wolves.

And while acknowledging the situation is changing on a daily basis, Phillips is keeping the ship steady for whoever steps in.

He said: “We had the players in training on Sunday and the chairman came in to say he’s had contact with Crystal Palace to speak to Dougie Freedman.

“Whether that goes ahead we don’t know.

“So how long we will be doing this role, we don’t know.

“We just want to get as many points as we can for the club.

“Three out of three was a good start on Saturday and we go into the game against Wolves.

“Whatever happens in the future, we are Bolton people, myself and Julian, and we just want what’s best for the club.

“We can only do our best at this moment in time.

“Whatever happens in the future, we will fully support whoever comes in.”

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