CONSISTENCY is the key for Dougie Freedman as he prepares Wanderers for his second full season in charge.
The Whites head for Watford today with a clean slate, putting behind them a disappointing 12 months that culminated in the club’s lowest league finish – 14th – for two decades.
The manager is keen to put the past in the past and despite losing some of his more recognised names during his tenure, such as Kevin Davies, Zat Knight, Chris Eagles, David Ngog and Marcos Alonso, be believes his current side are not far away from challenging for a promotion spot.
“From a coaching point of view we’re a well-organised, hard-working, tactical kind of team that on its day can beat anyone in this division,” he said.
“I still need three more attacking players but I know the lads here have got the hunger to do well.
“As a coach, I have got to try to get more consistency into them.
“That’s our task now, that’s what we need to take it to the next level up.”
Freedman has hinted in the last couple of weeks about the problems he inherited in a squad that had been relegated from the Premier League.
Of the 37 players that represented the club in the 2012/13 season, his first at Bolton, 20 have been moved on or returned to their parent club.
In doing that, Freedman has reduced the wage bill considerably and brought the club into line with Financial Fair Play guidelines.
But the Scot also feels he has created a tighter, more unified group of players in the process.
“It’s a completely different outlook from the dressing room this year,” he said. “It has been difficult because we’ve tried to build a team but couldn’t because of the financial restraints put on us by the players who were here.
“I don’t think we’ve let ourselves down on the recruitment side in spite of that.
“Players have moved on but we’ve used the money wisely. I know people are looking at them as free transfers but I’d rather see them as players who need a different environment to get going again – Dean Moxey, Liam Feeney. They want to do well for this football club.”