All systems go for Bolton Wanderers boss Dougie Freedman ahead of Brighton clash

Dougie Freedman

Dougie Freedman

First published in Sport
Last updated
The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , sports writer

WANDERERS boss Dougie Freedman may tinker with his formation when his side take on Brighton away from home today in a bid to shore up his back line.

But it may not be a return to the 4-2-3-1 he favoured on the road last season with the Scot admitting the form of front pair Joe Mason and Craig Davies, in particular, has given him food for thought for the south-coast clash.

Davies has started all three Championship matches to date and scored his second penalty of the campaign in Tuesday’s defeat to Middlesbrough at the Macron Stadium.

And while the approach has often been to operate with just one frontman up top away from home, that could change at the Amex Stadium.

Freedman told The Bolton News: “Our games away from home were very successful last year in terms of points gained.

“There were two or three games we got horribly wrong but I felt overall in the majority it was always tight and we won a lot of away games.

“I don’t think it will be the same approach because of the certain personnel I have.

“I have one or two players bang on form right now and it is very difficult to leave them out.

“When that happens, you have to play to a certain system the players believe in.

“We have got a 4-2-3-1 formation in our locker but I don’t know if we will adopt that from the off but we can switch if we need to during the match.”

Freedman is naturally keeping his cards close to his chest but it could be he goes with more of a 3-5-2 set-up with the likely return of Dean Moxey on the left allowing him to shift Tim Ream back inside alongside Matt Mills and in-form David Wheater.

With the energy of youngster Oscar Threlkeld on the right, he has options to operate with wing-backs and have a solid central midfield with support from one advanced for the strike duo.

He added: “We have different formations we have been playing with in pre-season that we can use.

“And the younger players like Oscar can play in those formations as well so it gives me options.

“We had to give up some ground on Tuesday because their midfield three was very good.

“Because I wanted to play the two strikers, and Liam Trotter as an attacking midfielder, I had to make sure we didn’t go pressing in certain areas and leave gaps but it was disappointing to concede when we did.”

Freedman saw his side slip to a disappointing defeat at the Amex last season when three goals in five second-half minutes turned the game in Brighton’s favour.

And while the man in the dugout has changed for the Seagulls, Freedman expects the hosts to be a similar threat today and be boosted after picking up their first league win at Leeds in midweek.

The Whites boss said: “They had a good win the other night. I watched the game and they played well.

“They will be a little bit more confident than they have been.

“They have lost one or two key players who fitted into their system and it may take time to adjust under Sami.

“But they have very good younger players coming in.

“We will go there with a game-plan that I think will help us beat Brighton.

“We just have to make sure we don’t give anything silly away.

“Teams have to know they have to work for a result against us and work hard to get chances against us.

“Last year down there we were 1-0 up and comfortable and they came out after half time and turned the game on its head with three quick goals.

“I think we have different personnel now that can go and cope with certain games.”

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