Dougie's experience as youngster at Loftus Road is rubbing off on him as Wanderers manager
DOUGIE Freedman’s Wanderers take on a QPR team packed with experience today – not too dissimilar to the Hoops side he joined as a trainee more than 20 years ago.
While the money in football has spiralled and Rangers are wealthier than when the Scot was there in the early 1990s, the make-up of the squad also included seasoned professionals.
The similarities do not end there with an experienced manager like current boss Harry Redknapp at the helm when Freedman joined the Londoners in the shape of Don Howe.
It was a factor that swayed the Whites boss to up sticks from Scotland to join QPR and he says he learned a lot as a young player at Loftus Road.
He said: “I was playing in a tournament for Scotland schoolboys and a scout spotted me. I had a few offers in Scotland and in England.
“At the time, QPR had players like Mark Falco and Ray Wilkins who had been at Rangers and straight away the names stood out for me. It tempted me there and I went for a few weeks and liked it and they liked me.
“The manager was Don Howe and he was very similar to Roy Hodgson when he got his hands dirty with the Under-21s last week. I like that – it was fantastic.
“He had just come back from the 1990 World Cup with England and would train the first team and then come over to the youth.
“Then he brought his mate Dave Sexton in every Tuesday and Thursday so it wasn’t bad coaching I got.
“I certainly developed as a young player at QPR and it is something I have remembered throughout my career and tried to take into management at Palace and now here at Bolton working with young players.”
As he welcomes the modern-day Hoops to the Reebok, Freedman admits he would like to be in a position to add experience to his squad like Redknapp has done this summer.
But he appreciates the new Financial Fair Play rules mean clubs like Wanderers have to cut their cloth accordingly.
He added: “We would all love to do what Harry has done and the experience he has been able to bring in this summer but we all haven’t got the means right now.
“It is a very experienced squad that Harry has recruited over the summer.
“There are players on the side like Jermaine Jenas and Andrew Johnson still to come back in.
“Credit to Harry and his football club, he seems to be strengthening every week with Gary O’Neil the latest who I think is a terrific signing.
“He is not buying for buying’s sake; he is bringing in experienced players to cope with the demands of the Championship of playing Saturday-Tuesday. I think he has learned from being in the Championship with Portsmouth.
“But it makes it very difficult for the rest of the clubs in the division.”
Redknapp could be boosted by the return from injury of Johnson today, while Alejandro Faurlin and Armand Traore could also make the trip.
But young winger Junior Hoilett looks set to miss out after picking up a hamstring strain in last week’s win over Ipswich and not fully recovering by yesterday’s final training session.