DOUGIE Freedman is confident Wanderers can avoid the unthinkable and begin to rebuild their season with victory over Crewe in the Capital One Cup tonight.
After four winless games in the Championship, anything less than straightforward progression against a side rock-bottom of League One would provide more ammunition for the Scot’s escalating number of critics.
The extra-time win over local rivals Bury did little to assuage the doubters in the last round – and Freedman admits a convincing performance is long overdue.
“People talk about pressure but I’m not wired that way,” he told The Bolton News.
“I see this as another game, a chance to score some goals, get a clean sheet and go from there.
“I think the game could be very important because it gives me a chance to say to the players ‘get back out there and show people what we can do’.
“Some things have obviously got to improve for that to happen but we’ll be working hard to make sure that they do.”
Other than the first half of the opening game at Watford, Freedman has refused to criticise his side’s performance levels in what has widely been regarded as a dismal start to the Championship season.
His view is not necessarily shared on the terraces but the manager does not think morale will be a problem when the two sides meet at Gresty Road tonight.
“I don’t think confidence has been hit,” he said.
“I honestly don’t think we’ve been playing badly.
“It isn’t as if we’re sitting back and playing timid football.
“I see us hitting teams on the break and giving it a right good go.
“What I see right now is that one or two things are going against us, like losing a goalkeeper or the penalty against Middlesbrough, and that highlights the fact we’re not taking our chances.”
Wanderers will run a late check on Adam Bogdan to see if he is fit to play in goal after leaving Saturday’s defeat at Brighton with a gashed head and concussion. Andy Lonergan stands by as a replacement for the Hungarian but Freedman has no issue putting the former Leeds man back into the team.
“Andy is an experienced lad, he’s been there before, so it won’t be a problem for us if Adam doesn’t come through,” he said.
In better news on the injury front, Kevin McNaughton and Dean Moxey are pencilled in to return on Saturday at Leeds United.