Dougie Freedman calls for rousing derby show by Bolton Wanderers
MANAGER Dougie Freedman is calling for a repeat of the Wanderers’ most recent Lancashire derby display when they host county rivals Blackpool tonight.
The last time Red Rose bragging rights were at stake at the beginning of the month, the Whites thumped Blackburn Rovers 4-0 at the Reebok Stadium.
They followed it up with a 5-1 away demolition of Leeds United but have taken just two points from nine since then.
Freedman acknowledges standards have slipped slightly but he is confident a rousing Reebok derby atmosphere can bring out the best in his side.
A good start is imperative for the Scot who will recall the final home clash of last season when Blackpool were two goals to the good inside 35 minutes in a match Wanderers needed to win to secure a play-off berth.
They fought back to draw 2-2 but the boss wants them to be the ones on the front foot early on this time around.
He told The Bolton News: “We need to start well like we have done recently at home. We need to have a good first 25 minutes and stick to it because that has been key recently at the Reebok.
“If we don’t, it puts us on the back foot.
“We need to get back to clean sheets as well and not make any silly mistakes which can prove costly.
“When you keep a clean sheet your forward play is more fluent because there isn’t that pressure of having to mount a comeback.
“We started really well against Blackburn and I hope we can do that again.”
With Wigan Athletic next up at the Reebok on Saturday, it is the first of consecutive derby meetings for Wanderers.
Freedman admits it adds extra spice to the match against the Seasiders but says it is something to relish.
And he wants his team to give the home faithful another derby win to cheer against a Blackpool side who have won two games recently, their first victories since November.
He added: “There is a different feel around for derby games and we have two in a few days coming up.
“It affects the atmosphere in the ground and at the Reebok we have been playing well in derby games – the best example being Blackburn.
“But once the players are out there it is about doing the job whoever it’s against.
“I am quite comfortable with our experience of derby matches.
“Derby matches are a leveller anyway so we don’t look too much at their form.
“But if we impose our game, I am confident we can win.”