WINGER Liam Feeney is being told to get himself right in the thick of it if he wants to score goals at Wanderers.
While Dougie Freedman admits much of his summer signing’s best work is done out wide, the Whites boss feels he can turn Feeney into a more complete player, given time.
The former Millwall man earned his side their first win of pre-season with a tap in at FC Vestsjaelland on Sunday but his scoring record since breaking into the professional ranks with Bournemouth is a little on the thin side.
The 27-year-old has managed just 22 goals in 215 appearances, more than half of which were for the Cherries.
But Freedman reckons he can coax much more from the former loanee, provided he gets himself involved more in the penalty area.
“What he needs to add to his game is goals,” he told The Bolton News. “He’s actually a good finisher and I believe he doesn’t get in enough goal-scoring positions.
“He’s probably been asked to play too wide during his career so I’m asking him to play a little bit differently, even though you don’t want to take away the things he’s really good at.
“I want my wingers to tuck in, and the way he scored his goal against Vestsjaelland was the result of him getting himself in front of goal. He could have had a couple more as well but it was a good sign.”
Feeney’s route to Wanderers has been a convoluted one. Recalled by Millwall from a promising loan spell last October, he looked to have salvaged his Lions career until being farmed out again to Blackburn. He then turned down a permanent move to Ewood Park to sign a two-year deal with the Whites last month.
Freedman is keen to harness the pace that was so apparent in his brief first stay with the club but also says the wide man’s attitude will be an asset in his squad.
“We know where we are as a football club right now, and Liam Feeney on a free transfer is a fantastic bit of business for the team,” he said.
“Other clubs wanted him, Blackburn were in there, and we had to fight a little bit but Liam’s at the age where he wants to do something with his career right now.
“There are a few players in the dressing room who share that kind of determination and they are making sure that everyone else brings that kind of attitude.
“He’s got attributes that we didn’t have last season and I think he’ll definitely help us.”