Survival is priority for Bolton Wanderers according to former star Per Frandsen
PER Frandsen is praying Wanderers slip no further down the Championship table and get the chance to start again in the summer.
The former Whites favourite, now manager of Danish second tier side HB Koge, admits it has been tough to watch his adopted club struggle in the last six months.
Dougie Freedman’s men go into today’s derby with Blackburn – another of Frandsen’s former teams – looking to string back-to-back wins together for only the third time in 10 months.
Talk of a play-off surge has evaporated completely and the Dane now reckons the next 14 games simply become a matter of making sure Wanderers live to fight another day in the Championship.
“It is hard to see them where they are,” he told The Bolton News. “There is a good squad of players but for some reason it hasn’t happened. Now they just need to stay up and learn a few things in the summer.
“They need a fresh start, so maybe they just need to get through this difficult time.
“I came over to watch them against Middlesbrough a couple of months ago and you can see there is talent in the squad. But the Championship is tough and it is easy when things start going against you for it to turn into a big struggle.”
Frandsen was part of Colin Todd’s side relegated by the narrowest of margins in 1997 that fell on tough times after missing out on a return to the Premier League the following season in the play-offs.
He was famously sold against the manager’s wishes to Blackburn in September 1999, prompting Todd to resign.
The 44-year-old admits his 10-month spell at Ewood Park was a low point but that the team he left – and rejoined – was better equipped than the modern day Wanderers for the hustle and bustle of second-tier football.
“My heart wasn’t in Blackburn,” he said. “I shouldn’t have gone there but it was an experience I learned from and I suppose it had to happen at the time.
“We had been relegated but the team Colin Todd had still knew the Championship. We weren’t full of Premier League players who hadn’t experienced it before, and that helped even after the play-offs.
“It was a squad of strong characters. But when I came back and Big Sam was here, they told me they wanted to be in Europe. I remember laughing – and five years later they had done it.
“That’s why you can’t write anything off for Bolton. Football is a difficult game to predict.”
Frandsen has been in charge at HB Koge for 18 months and would love to get involved in the English game again some time in the future.
“I love English football, all people from Denmark have their own club, and Bolton is mine,” he said.
“My assistant here is a Birmingham fan, so that gets interesting when they play each other.
“I spent nine years there and had some great times. It’s like a second home to me.
“So maybe one day I’ll get a chance to come over and coach in England. It is difficult but you never know.”
Frandsen has also been in touch with his former boss Todd, now managing Danish side Randers, but currently in hospital awaiting a heart bypass operation.
“I spoke to him the other day and he’s doing well,” he said. “It is a serious operation but he seems confident and we are all hoping everything turns out well for him.”