Injuries mount but no panic for Freedman
DOUGIE Freedman is keeping a stiff upper lip in what has potentially been his most testing spell yet as Wanderers boss.
His squad is beset by injury problems and without a league win so far.
Worse still, they found themselves dumped out of the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night by a League One Tranmere side who could themselves only name four replacements on their bench.
The chances of calling in reinforcements before Monday’s transfer deadline hinge on sales – or just how far club owner Eddie Davies and chairman Phil Gartside are willing to push the boat out amidst stringent Financial Fair Play stipulations.
And yet Freedman remains typically unflappable – outwardly at least – as he prepares to take his side to Ewood Park for a game almost guaranteed to provide incident of one kind or another.
“I’m not someone who will mope around,” said the Scot ahead of the Lancashire derby.
“We are where we are at the moment. We have got to carry on, make sure we get our players fit and then, hopefully, we can get our season started on Saturday.
“The situation we find ourselves in at the moment isn’t ideal but there has been a sequence of games and a little bit of bad luck with injuries that hasn’t helped us. That said, I do think we have done enough in certain games to have more points in the league than we have right now.”
Freedman’s rebuilding job this summer has been conducted under the continual mantra of FFP regulations, which have been brought in by the Football League this season to prevent clubs spending beyond their means.
That has nott stopped some splashing the cash, and in a week where Blackburn have invested seven figures in winger Ben Marshall and even Bournemouth have beaten Celtic to the punch for £2.2million hitman Tokelo Rantie, such tight purse strings must be difficult to take for the Whites boss.
Trimming off some of the bigger earners – and particularly those who do not fit into his longer term plans – has been easier said than done.
And that has meant cash for new signings has been tight, leaving Freedman down to bare bones after the recent run of injuries.
“It is difficult to answer whether we will make signings because the club have been working in a certain way for a while now,” he said.
“Since I came in I have tried to change the squad around in terms of the age – we’ve let players like Martin Petrov, Kevin Davies, Sam Ricketts go – and tried to get younger players in because I know the demands of the Championship. But that has probably left us a bit short.
“Of course I am looking out for players because I think it showed at Tranmere that the squad is not big enough if we are carrying injuries, which we are doing right now.
“Whether we get them or not, I don’t know.”
With Craig Davies and David Wheater almost certainly ruled out this weekend and doubts over Marc Tierney, Tim Ream, David Ngog and Chris Eagles, Freedman is short on options heading into the 149th derby game between Blackburn and Bolton.
He is, however, encouraged by the progress of recent signing Andre Moritz who laid on Jermaine Beckford’s goal against Tranmere in midweek.
The Brazilian has been playing catch-up on fitness since his arrival but Freedman reckons there is plenty more to come from his former Crystal Palace charge.
“At this moment he’s possibly finding it hard to gain fitness because of the games programme,” he said.
“When he’s fit he is a top quality player, which is why I was so keen to bring him here on a free transfer. It was a no brainer for me.
“We had to shuffle things around in order to make the deal happen, and that’s where we are right now.
“Andre came on at Tranmere and did very well. He provided a real bit of quality in the final third, sliding a pass into Jermaine for the goal. That’s the kind of quality he has in those areas.”