Bolton Wanderers manager Dougie Freedman takes belief from last season's strong late run
DOUGIE Freedman has dug his heels in amidst growing frustration on the terraces, insisting his side can still make a late charge for the play-offs in the second half of the season.
Wanderers sit 18th going into this afternoon’s game at Barnsley and have taken just four points from the last 15 available.
They are currently three points down on the same stage 12 months ago and 11 adrift of the top six, as opposed to eight last year.
On paper it seems a tough ask to emulate the post-February surge but Freedman is steadfast in his belief his side will turn their fortunes round if they stick to his gameplan.
“It gives me confidence what we did last year,” he said.
“We put in a great run and it gave us great confidence.
“I have got a group of players who understand how I want to play, what I want to do and what is expected in this division.
“They are dominating games, they did last week at Wigan and did against Charlton. We are playing very well but we are not putting the ball in the back of the net.”
Wanderers have been playing catch-up since making one of the worst starts to a season in the club’s history, a start even Freedman admits has become somewhat of a millstone around the Whites’ neck.
But the manager is sure once his side eradicate their wastefulness in front of goal – Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Charlton saw only five of 19 attempts hit the target – then progress will be made in the table.
“Maybe the start has affected us but the players have come through it,” he said.
“We are just not taking our chances.
“I don’t care if you play that well for five minutes or 85 minutes, if you don’t put the ball in the back of the net then the results don’t come.”
A left-back is top of Freedman’s shopping list when the transfer window re-opens in a week’s time but while the Wanderers boss does not anticipate a flurry of new signings, he does not believe the club’s struggles in the Championship this season will deter Eddie Davies from making transfer funds available.
“I think we have got a very level head in terms of where we want to go,” he said.
“We know we are a team that has been in the Premiership for 10-plus years, but now we’re in the Championship, where we still carry some expectations because of the wages and the players we have got.
"But that doesn’t necessarily guarantee success.
“I think in January we have got to keep on doing what we have been doing and that’s being sensible, bringing in players who are the right age and who can move the club forward.
“We are well capable of going and getting points at Barnsley and Leicester but I don’t think it will affect what we do in January.”