Dougie Freedman sees improvement in his Bolton Wanderers side but admits there is still work to do

Wanderers boss Dougie Freedman

Wanderers boss Dougie Freedman

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

WANDERERS got off the mark against Forest but Dougie Freedman isn’t kidding himself that the hard work is over.

After the abject disappointment of defeat against Watford on the opening day and an unconvincing win against Bury in the Capital One Cup – there was a certain pressure on the Whites to perform in front of their own fans on Saturday.

This was a step in the right direction but Freedman admits his side still lack a crucial ingredient that might have turned one point into three.

“We would have lost that game last season,” he reflected. “I have got a real bunch of honest players working for this football club.

“Yes, we need little bits of quality here and there but we are looking for it. I think we still miss that little spark that makes a difference in this division.

“But we’ve come up against one of the top sides in the Championship here and there wasn’t a lot in it. I think we can be pleased with that.”

Until Wanderers chalk up a win, comparisons to the dreadful start that wrecked their chances last season are inevitable.

Asked whether he was content with the start made this year, Freedman said: “I’m not happy with where I am. We could have beaten Forest and we could definitely have been better at Watford.

“In the end I think we’ve played two good teams in a week, both of whom will be in the top eight in the Championship at the end of the season.

“We are working towards what I want to see in a football team, hard work, honesty, and we’ll get there.

“We do need a little bit more up top, I don’t hide that. But we will definitely be in with a fighting chance of winning more games than we did last year.”

Freedman praised the men who made the score-sheet at the Macron Stadium, including Joe Mason, signed at the start of last week on a season-long loan deal from Cardiff City for a third spell at the club.

“We know all about Joe,” he said. “What else is there to say?

“He took his goal well. His touch and his movement were excellent, that’s why I was so keen to get him in the building.”

A more surprising scorer on the day, perhaps, was David Wheater who kept his place at the heart of defence after the midweek win against Bury and rewarded his manager with a tap in after some poor Forest defending.

“Yes, we worked on that goal on the training ground,” Freedman said, tongue-in-cheek.

“Wheats tells me he used to be a striker so maybe that’s a nudge to tell me I should be playing him up front.

“He’s been rock solid in the last two games and I can’t give him enough praise because he’s had a hard time with injury.

“Now I think we’re seeing the real David Wheater, standing up and being counted. The environment and the culture of the club is helping him.”

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