DOUGIE Freedman insists he now has a clearer plan for Wanderers after admitting to mistakes in his recruitment process last summer.
As the curtain comes down on another season of inconsistency in the Championship, the Scot reflected on the differing fortunes his side have experienced at opposite ends of the campaign.
One win in the first 13 games saw fans calling for Freedman’s head prior to Christmas, but a run of just two defeats in 15 since mid-February suggest the manager has now got it right.
Just four of the players who started on the opening day against Burnley turned out at Sheffield Wednesday last weekend, illustrating the wholesale changes in the manager’s selection since August.
And Freedman concedes he placed too much faith in the players who had finished the previous season so strongly – missing out on the play-offs by a single goal.
“I wasn’t there for the beginning of that season but we finished like a train,” he said. “We only just fell short.
“The mistake I made in the summer was not recruiting a certain type of player. I felt the existing players would reproduce what they had done but that wasn’t the case, so we started very poorly.
“I felt the players deserved to be given a go in their second year in the Championship and they did produce some wonderful moments, but certainly not enough of them.
“The chairman was fantastic and backed our financial commitments once again.
“Certain personnel let their team-mates down but we soon turned that around. We got a few loans in and picked up results.”
Unless there is a major collapse at Middlesbrough at already-relegated Yeovil on the final day, the best Wanderers can hope for is to leapfrog Watford and finish “top of the bottom half.”
The Whites’ slow start has once again proved costly but Freedman believes that need not be the case next term, if he can bring in some Championship specialists in the next few months.
The likes of Neil Danns, Lukas Jutkiewicz, Kevin McNaughton and Joe Mason all had pedigree in the second tier before making a considerable impact at the Reebok whilst on loan.
Danns has already been secured and it seems likely that Freedman will fish from the same sort of pool when he brings in further signings.
“You can’t look into next season and wonder what’s going to be happening – you have to be positive, and we will be in the summer,” he said.
“We have got a few players out of contract, which will give us a little bit of breathing space financially and let me recruit exactly the profile of player I need in the Championship.”
“We have a fantastic nucleus of a good group there. It’s a group who want to face in the right direction and come in to train very hard every day towards it.
“There is no secret in the Championship, you have to have the right kind of profile in a player. “You look at Burnley, Leicester, Derby, the teams right up at the top, those kind of players that are needed in the Championship are what we are trying to get in the summer.”