Little known loanees tipped to play big part in turning Bolton Wanderers' season around
WANDERERS fans may have greeted last week’s triple loan signing with a certain degree of scepticism, but Dougie Freedman says that is exactly how he likes it.
When it appeared that the purse strings were to be loosened and the Wanderers manager allowed to raid the loan market for reinforcements, some fantastical names were bandied about from supporters desperate to see a quick change in fortune.
Those of Neil Danns, Liam Feeney and Kevin McNaughton – three players very much on the periphery of their parent clubs – would not have been high on the wanted lists of many of those fans.
And yet there have been early signs in the last week that they could play a major part in turning round the club’s poor start to the season.
Freedman hinted after the defeat at Brighton that he needed to revert to a “Plan B”, which has now been interpreted as meaning bringing in some different characters to a dressing room which has been lacking in confidence.
The result has been two points gained from two games, which, while not being an overwhelming response, is nevertheless a start for the Wanderers boss to build on.
“I have had to go back to basics a little bit,” the Glaswegian said.
“We have a team that should be plying its trade in the Premiership, no doubt about that, but they dropped out.
“They have to regroup and they don’t have any God-given right that they should go straight back up there.
“I have had to bring a couple of players in who understand what is required at this level and what it means to play for a club this big.
“These weren’t panic loans, they were players that I felt would bring something to the football club and a have a point to prove, maybe not at this club, but perhaps to themselves and we’ll benefit from that.”
The “horses for courses” approach that Freedman seems to have adopted could now give rise to a few unfamiliar favourites on the terraces.
Feeney has proved a surprise package in the game-and-a-half since his arrival from Millwall, and Freedman hopes his signing brings a sense of nostalgia from a time when the club used to tap unexplored sources for their new recruits.
“When I got this job I had to look up the history of the place so I could understand better what I thought the fans might want,” he said.
“What I think is that they will never ever have a go at anyone just so long as they are giving 100 per cent.
“Bolton fans will get to know me and I’m not someone who likes to go out there as a big spender.
“I might be able to eventually but right now I am not that kind of manager.
“I like to develop players or find those who are maybe not having their own way at their club but fit into a certain system.
“We have got a player on loan from Millwall that pretty much no-one has heard of – but I have. I have known Liam for years.
“I know what he can bring to the football club and though he’ll have dips in form, he does want to show people what he has got. That desire is what I want.”