Bolton Wanderers boss Dougie Freedman believes Craig Davies can play his part this season after impressive start

Wanderers striker Craig Davies in action against Nottingham Forest

Wanderers striker Craig Davies in action against Nottingham Forest

First published in Sport The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , chief football writer

DOUGIE Freedman believes Craig Davies may only now be ready to shoulder a striking burden at Wanderers.

Few would have predicted the Wales international would be leading the line in the first two league games this season after he seemed to be heading for the exit door in summer.

Loaned out to League One Preston North End in January – Davies looked like being the fall guy as Wanderers looked to reinforce their attacking ranks in the last few months.

But after showing up well in disappointing displays against Watford and Bury, Davies produced another eye-catching performance in the 2-2 draw with Nottingham Forest.

Now it seems the bustling target man could have turned round his Whites career.

“He’s come back and addressed certain situations and shown a real hunger and desire,” Freedman told The Bolton News.

“His attitude has changed. I think when he came the place was a little bit too big for him.

“I think the stadium, the expectations, were just a little bit too big.

“Sometimes it takes time. Joe Mason has settled quickly but Craig didn’t and so he’s had to step away, look at how he’s conducting himself on and off the field and he’s done that.”

Freedman freely admits he is still in the market for a striker or two – which leaves Davies’s future still finely poised. But the Scot admits he could have the pressure taken off his search if Joe Mason strikes up a partnership with the former Barnsley man, which showed some signs of promise in the first half at the Macron Stadium.

“You never know what might happen, sometimes these things just click,” he said. “The thing is on 60-65 minutes Craig Davies has normally got his hands on his knees. On 85 minutes today he sprinted off, so he’s obviously a lot fitter.

“He’s giving it a right good go and I think with performances like that, goals will come.

“He’s in a better environment. He has better people around and helping him, those who are interested in his agenda and not just their own.

“He brought a lot of power and pace to the game today. Am I expecting him to play 46 games this season, no I am not, but he can play half of them and get into double figures in terms of goals.”

Davies did have a chance to grab the headlines with a second-half header but Freedman refused to make him a scapegoat.

“I’m not going to criticise strikers for missing chances. He was in there and I think he was a bit unfortunate,” he added.

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