Pratley attitude delights boss
CHANGING man Darren Pratley has been hailed for turning round his Wanderers career.
Life at the Reebok threatened to turn sour for the former Swansea City midfielder, who suffered for form in his first season in the Premier League before contracting a form of meningitis just before the summer break to leave him playing catch-up for fitness in the early stages of the current campaign.
Dougie Freedman admits the 27-year-old was short of confidence on his arrival at the club in October, a situation that was magnified by the boo-boys who had targeted him from the terraces.
But the Wanderers boss has praised Pratley for having the character to turn things round, and with the Londoner now forging a strong partnership in midfield with fellow terrier Jay Spearing, he has backed him to become a fixture in the team.
“When I first turned up at the place Darren didn’t seem to have a lot of confidence,” he said. “He didn’t seem to be settled and I suppose the same could be said for Marvin Sordell as well.
“It’s surprising sometimes when you see players grow into certain systems or how they react to different managers or different surroundings.
“Darren has done very, very well. He’s a very good professional and not one of these who whinges about not playing. He gets on with things in training.
“He is very committed to this club and I would like to say that to the fans, because when it wasn’t going so well for him, he never once winced away from not training right so it’s credit to the guy because he’s playing every week and playing very well.”
Freedman revealed Pratley and a handful of other so-called fringe players were ordered to do extra “catch-up” training sessions on his arrival to bring them up to a similar level as the rest of the squad.
“He did all that extra work without complaining, got a lot stronger and fitter, and he’s grown into the team now,” he explained.
“Sometimes you have got to give someone a pat on the back for that.
“It’s easy when you are not playing, you’re at a new club and you’re being criticised to go under. But Darren has stood up.
“He has shown his character to dig in, start playing week-in, week-out, and fair play to him.”