Bolton Wanderers boss Dougie Freedman takes positives from fightback against Yeovil
ON the face of it, a draw at home to Yeovil appears an unlikely point from which Wanderers can turn round their wretched season – but Dougie Freedman is not so sure.
During the week, the Whites boss had been working on “crisis management” on the training ground and schooling his players on exactly the right response should things go wrong against the Glovers.
Adam Bogdan’s unforced error with 11 minutes to go ensured that scenario was well and truly put into practice.
And the team’s response gave Freedman some reason for optimism.
“We knew Yeovil were a spirited hard-working side, and they certainly were, but we gifted them a lead,” said the Scot. “We’d had the chances to win three games but at that point we needed to show some spirit to get back into the game and we showed it.
“The Championship is a battle and you need to put yourself on the front foot. When that goal went in the crowd got behind us and we did that.”
Freedman praised the impact of substitute Liam Feeney, who only arrived at Euxton on Friday from Millwall.
The winger is on a three-month loan and while the ex-Bournemouth man may lack the star quality that Wanderers fans have become attuned to, Freedman believes he has the right kind of character to become a success as the Whites attempt to grind out results.
“I’ve done my trade at a club like Crystal Palace, a club who were right down the bottom, and they didn’t have a pot,” said the manager.
“We need to scrap around and get people in who want to try and get somewhere.
“I have been saying to the football club and to the fans, that is where we are. That is what we have got to get.
“It is not about where we are going to go. It is about where we are right now and what players and characters will get us out of it.
“Liam was excellent when he came on, and put in seven or so great crosses. I was very pleased with him.”
Freedman’s plan to change the game in the second half was wrecked when his side spent 15 minutes down to 10 men because of injuries to Jay Spearing and Marc Tierney.
Rather than send on Neil Danns for his debut, which had been the original plan, Freedman was forced to bring Zat Knight off the bench and push Tim Ream over to full-back.
Yeovil’s goal then made it necessary to push Knight up as an emergency striker and while all the changes were being made, the Scot feels momentum was being lost.
“ What put us off our stride were injuries,” he said. “We had Jay Spearing with six stitches in his head then Marc Tierney goes off. That was what I feared the most because it gave them a bit of incentive to push forward.
“The first half was one of the most one-sided games you’ll ever see.
“We do lack a bit of a cutting edge but our approach play was good. It always is.
“We had commitment to winning 50-50s and tackling, the defending was excellent. I thought going into the second half that we just needed to keep doing what we were doing and it would come.”