Dougie Freedman happy to play it tough when looking to build his Bolton Wanderers squad
DOUGIE Freedman has no qualms about taking a tough stance to build for the future at Wanderers.
The Whites manager admits he has had to make some difficult calls this summer already as he continues to restructure his squad with experienced senior players Zat Knight, Tyrone Mears and Chris Eagles among those told they can leave.
A year ago he had to make a similarly big call to release longstanding skipper Kevin Davies after a decade at the Whites and he has continued to make big decisions this close season as he looks to mould a squad that can do better than last season’s 14th-placed Championship finish.
He believes it is important to look to the future sensibly, particularly with new Financial Fair Play regulations hanging over every club and their transfer dealings.
Freedman told The Bolton News: “I have had to make some tough decisions this summer to move on four or five players.
“Some big wages have left and they were tough calls to make but that’s what I have to do balance the books.
“You have to do that to start building a team and that’s what we are in the process of doing.”
It is not just in-house where the Scot is taking a hard line.
He is also standing firm when it comes to transfer targets and says the club will not be held to ransom with regards players they want to sign.
Freedman cites the example of Liam Feeney’s arrival as a case in point.
In January, Millwall were asking £250,000 for the winger’s release after he was called back early from his loan at the Reebok Stadium – a fee which Freedman was not prepared to meet.
He remained unmoved and his patience has paid off six months later with Feeney joining on a free transfer recently.
Freedman added: “When we first brought Liam in on loan, he was not in the first-team picture at Millwall.
“After a month with us they recalled him and said if he wanted to sign him in January we had to fork out £250,000.
“I refuse to get bullied on fees or wages.
“I will always put the club first and wasn’t prepared to put that at risk.
“We had patience and now we have got Liam here on a free transfer which is good business.
“Because we are Bolton and it is a great club, our name will be thrown in there sometimes by agents.
“But I want to do things properly and not put the club at risk financially.
“We should not be held to ransom.”