Dougie Freedman satisfied with commitment of Bolton Wanderers new boy Alex Baptiste
DOUGIE Freedman reckons Alex Baptiste’s versatility will become a valuable asset for Wanderers – even if he admits his summer signing has had a “difficult” start to the season.
Ex-Blackpool defender Baptiste has been ever-present in the first five Championship games but has yet to sample victory in a Whites shirt.
He has also been used in both full-back positions, something that the Whites boss agrees has made his early days at the Reebok slightly less comfortable than they could have been.
“It has been difficult for him,” Freedman said. “But Alex is a good, solid professional and he’s giving me everything he’s got.
“He made a small miscalculation the other week against QPR – and we’re talking one or two steps off Clint Hill’s pass – but he has been solid otherwise. I’ve got absolutely no doubts about him at all.”
Freedman previously described Baptiste’s capture, along with fellow free transfer Marc Tierney, as two of the bargains of the summer.
Left-back Tierney should be fully fit for the weekend’s home game with Leeds United, with centre-half Tim Ream also back in contention after a minor thigh strain.
That should mean a return to the right side of defence for Baptiste, in what promises to be a much-changed line-up after the derby nightmare at Blackburn Rovers.
It may have been an unsettled start for Baptiste, position-wise, but Freedman reckons his versatility is exactly why several clubs from the Premier League and Championship were chasing his signature over the summer.
“When we have a budget like we have got, you have to look after it, you can’t throw it around. And that means buying players who can play two positions and cover you,” he told The Bolton News.
“I brought Alex on a free transfer because I know he can do a job anywhere across the back four – hence his value is more than just an average left-back, or a right-back. You can’t always get away with that but he can.”
Meanwhile, reports suggest that young midfielder Josh Vela could be made available for loan in the near future.
The Salford-born teenager has struggled to hold down a regular first team place because of fitness issues and has made just one appearance this season against Tranmere in the Captial One Cup.