Bolton Wanderers boss Dougie Freedman has no plans to rest ever-present Jay Spearing
DOUGIE Freedman has no plans to give marathon man Jay Spearing a rest – despite him totting up 48 hours of Championship action to date.
Wanderers’ all-action midfielder has played every minute of every league game since he made the switch from Liverpool in the second week of the season.
The same can be said of Alex Baptiste, who despite missing just one league game, has actually racked up more minutes on the pitch by virtue of the fact he has featured in almost all the cup games.
But while Alan Hutton’s arrival on loan from Aston Villa hints at a rest for the tireless former Blackpool defender sometime in the future, Spearing has been backed to handle the heavy workload by his manager.
“When you buy certain players you think ‘can he handle 46 games in a season?’” Freedman said.
“Front players, maybe you think 30 to 35, but players like Spearing or Medo, you’d want them to play nearly every match.
“More importantly, in the Championship, you need players who have got that desire to play every single match.
“And those two certainly have that.”
While Medo clocks in at 1,975 minutes, Freedman’s recruitment problems are perhaps outlined by the fact three defenders have played more than the midfielder.
Tim Ream, Matt Mills and Baptiste have all played continuously since October – and while Freedman has searched for defensive loan signings to give them a rest, it was only when Hutton’s arrival was confirmed last week that he found himself able to make a switch.
As it happened, Hutton remained an unused substitute against Blackburn Rovers, while Mills sat out with a knee injury that is also likely to mean he will miss this weekend’s game at Leeds United.
Zat Knight was brought in at centre-back alongside David Wheater, and his encouraging performance against Rovers may have eased the pressure slightly on Freedman finding another defender on loan as back-up.
Spearing, meanwhile, is not concerned by his lack of rest.
The 25-year-old was man of the match at the weekend and finished the game looking out on his feet.
But while the results are coming for Wanderers, Spearing believes there will be few complaints of fatigue from within the squad.
“I was a little bit tired towards the end of the game but right from the start we kicked on and every single one of us were tremendous,” he said.
“It wasn’t just about me. I’m sure there will be a few tired bodies this week because everyone got stuck in and we were excellent.
“But we are full of confidence going into the Leeds game and I’m sure everyone will be ready to go again.”