WANDERERS’ January additions are starting to shine – and Dougie Freedman could not be more delighted.
The new boys took centre stage against Burnley, with Craig Dawson producing a man of the match performance in his first start since arriving on loan from West Brom and ex-Barnsley front man Craig Davies netting his first goal for the club to level the game.
Southampton loanee Steven de Ridder also gained plaudits for a hard-working display on his full debut, to cap a pleasing afternoon for the Wanderers boss.
“I said we’d had a good January and I stand by that,” Freedman said. “The key is – and I thank the chairman and Eddie Davies for keeping the players we’ve got – because I know we’re not where we want to be right now.
“We have been playing well but keeping the players was the first thing.
“To add one or two little gems was the next big thing. I could have gone out and spent money on whoever became available but I needed the right types at the right time.
“I’m chuffed about Craig (Davies) up top because I know he’ll be a good player for us. We have a couple of loans in Dawson and De Ridder and little Medo, who isn’t quite ready yet, but he’ll come into the picture.”
While Freedman decided against putting Sierra Leone international Medo into the squad, he did opt to bring Dawson into his back four in place of Tim Ream.
And the manager reckons his commanding performance shows a little of why the club were right to stay patient last month in order to bring him to the Reebok on loan.
“I feel you have got to sign a certain type of player for the league you’re in,” he said.
“The Championship is a very hustle, bustle league where you get a lot of aerial battles and you have to be organised and Craig does that.
“He’s one I’ve tried to get for a long time, as soon as I set foot in the door, so he’s someone I admire.”
Freedman also has reason for optimism with the recent return from injury of Stuart Holden, who is due to play 90 minutes for the development squad against Bury tonight, and two other potential first picks who are close to making a full comeback.
“Mark Davies keeps knocking on my door and telling me he’s ready, but he’s not,” laughed the Whites boss. “And David Wheater keeps firing angry looks at me, ‘pick me or else’.
“Sitting in my position is the best feeling you can get – you’ve got Mark Davies, David Wheater, Stuart Holden desperate to get back in. Then, I can explain to the players why they get their rest.”