Bolton Wanderers boss Dougie Freedman is still looking up the table for a big finish
DOUGIE Freedman has refused to set a limit on how high he feels Wanderers can climb in the Championship table.
While Alex Baptiste admitted earlier this week the play-off places are out of reach, his manager is remaining open- minded with today’s home game against Brighton the first of 11 left to play.
Wanderers are unbeaten in five and have taken 11 points from a possible 15, seeing the club rise well clear of the bottom three.
Freedman is looking up in the table and with less than a quarter of the campaign left to play, he is convinced there is still plenty to play for.
“I don’t do targets because you need to respect every game you go into,” he said. “But right now we have been convincing in our results and in our performances so I don’t see any reason not to be confident.
“Alex is right in that respect – we’ve got to concentrate on finishing strongly but he wasn’t here last season and maybe doesn’t know we are well capable of putting that kind of run together again.
“Personnel certainly helps and I feel we’ve got the right blend of players at the moment, and that can be seen in results.
“I’m proud of the signings I have made, especially the loans, because they have added to the squad immensely.
“We’ve got four out of five games at home now, and Yeovil away, so you’d like to think we can be strong through that run and then see what we’ve got left in the tank.”
After spending a large portion of the season feeling frustrated with his lack of options, as a result of form and injuries, the Wanderers boss is now more content, particularly in midfield, as he welcomes Brighton to the Reebok this afternoon.
“I’ve got personnel in the group who I know I can rely on,” he said.
“If I tweak the team slightly then I know I am going to get the same sort of performance from them.
“If I bring Neil Danns out, then Liam Trotter can go in, if Mark Davies comes out then Chung-Yong Lee can go into that position.
“It’s the same type of midfield shape with different players and it means the team can get used to the football I want them to play.”
Alan Hutton came in for his debut at Derby on Tuesday night in what was his first competitive club game in England since December 2012.
Freedman has been pleasantly surprised by the fitness levels displayed by the Scotland international, who is on loan from Aston Villa until March 29.
“He’s a very, very fit guy,” said the Whites boss. “He played 70 minutes for Scotland against Poland, which helped him but I was surprised by just how well he coped against Derby.
“In the last 10 minutes he was overlapping at one point, and I was pulling my hair out, worrying how he was going to get back. But he did.
“He still had the energy but in general the group is in very good condition, and that’s important at this stage of the season.”