Bolton Wanderers set to pick strong teams for friendlies, starting tonight against Rochdale

Dougie Freedman is set to pick a strong team

Dougie Freedman is set to pick a strong team

First published in Sport

DOUGIE Freedman will begin narrowing down his side at Rochdale tonight with the big kick-off at Watford in mind.

With starting places still seemingly up for grabs in the season-opener at Vicarage Road, the Wanderers boss wants to sharpen some of his key players by giving them more game time.

Freedman has a little over two weeks to get his side in shape for the start of the Championship but major doubts still linger over the depth of his attack.

“From the Rochdale game I will start to play more of a team that I think could start against Watford,” he told The Bolton News.

“There will be 90-minute games for more players now.

“I had arranged this pre-season with a lot of games so everyone had game time.

“We play Rochdale on Tuesday and then Melbourne the day after before Tranmere on Friday.

“By the time that game comes, I want to have given most players a full 90 minutes in those games.”

Wanderers failed to convince with a much-changed side at Macclesfield on Friday night, salvaging a draw with a second-half strike from Zach Clough.

Freedman admits there was a lack of attacking edge at Moss Rose but is willing to be patient as the heavy workload of early pre-season gives way to fine tuning.

“We need to have better quality up top and there’s no doubt about that,” he said. “Our passing and trying to play a certain way has been good but we needed to be more creative up top – there is no getting away from that.

“It was not until one or two younger players came on against Macclesfield that we looked like the Championship team going forward.

“But I also think we need to remember we have trained very hard – even on Thursday in between two games.

“Under those circumstances the effort at Macclesfield was very good.”

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