WANDERERS were struck by two late withdrawals before Saturday’s derby – but Dougie Freedman had no complaints with the men who stepped in.
Joe Mason and Mark Davies (groin) were ruled out on the morning of the Wigan game, forcing the Wanderers boss into a quick tactical rethink.
Liam Trotter and Rob Hall, pictured, were plunged into action at the last minute but let no-one down in one of the Whites’ better home displays this season.
“They put every ounce in,” Freedman beamed.
“I brought them to the club and I believe in them. They are young guys and I know that down the road there will be disappointing days. There will be ups and downs.
“But I think they are the type of characters that will take this club forward because they put absolutely everything on the line.
“I want a team that’s proud to play for the football club. I want young players who want to make a living for themselves and show the Bolton fans that they want to wear the shirt.
“That’s not necessarily with a goal or a penalty save, sometimes it’s hunger and desire to get stuck in and make sure the game is played at a good pace.”
Davies succumbed to the groin problem that saw him leave the field early against Blackpool in midweek, while Mason was struck down with a sickness bug.
Neil Danns also pulled out of the reckoning on Friday with a thigh strain – but Freedman praised the flexibility shown by Trotter, who played in behind Lukas Jutkiewicz and had his most encouraging display since signing from Millwall on loan.
“When I bring players to the club I try to make sure they can play two positions,” he said.
“That can be a massive benefit when the finances are a bit tight.
“I see Liam playing in the Medo (Kamara) role as well and then as a number 10 when it suits us.
“He’s a young lad and he’s still learning how we want him to play but I thought he was great today.”