AS the transfer window is slammed shut at many clubs around the country, it is more likely to be closed quietly before bedtime at Wanderers.
Dougie Freedman does not expect a great deal of business to be done this weekend, even though he would love to be in the position to do some.
Jordon Ibe joined Derby County on a season-long loan yesterday to become the latest player who slipped the hook.
The manager, looking an increasingly frustrated character with each passing week, openly admits the loan window – which reopens in a fortnight – is now his best chance to find reinforcements.
Freedman had waited patiently all summer for Ibe to become available but suffered for not being able to match the financial package offered by the Rams, a situation that mirrors his pursuit of Lukas Jutkiewicz, now plying his trade at Burnley.
Freedman has been tantalisingly close to a handful of players that even his biggest critics would agree could have made a difference to the club’s current situation.
Craig Dawson, Michael Kightly, Chris Burke, Max Clayton, Anthony Pilkington – all players on whom the manager was ready to move, only for some financial hitch to scupper his chances.
In the last couple of weeks Jay Spearing, Mark Davies and Adam Bogdan have been linked with moves elsewhere but speaking to The Bolton News, Freedman insisted he has not had any offers.
“Nobody has contacted me about my players,” he said. “They are all rumours again. If someone did contact me then I’d be here telling you there was a possibility we’d get one or two players in. That’s what I’d like to tell you.
“My prediction will be that we’ll have to wait until the loan window re-opens to see what’s available.
“We haven’t hidden that fact before, we won’t now.
“If someone does buy one of our players then it will kick-start a reaction, you’d hope, but I’ve got no power to go out and buy someone else’s players so I would anticipate a quiet deadline day.”
While Freedman admits to frustration at seeing clubs like Bournemouth and Huddersfield reinforce their squad with cash signings this summer, let alone the likes of relegated Fulham and Norwich, he believes the club are now well within the guidelines set out by Financial Fair Play and subsequently over the worst of the cost-cutting measures that have hamstrung him in the transfer market for most of the last 23 months.
There has been no recent public declaration of the club’s financial situation from either chairman Phil Gartside or owner Eddie Davies but Freedman believes the realisation is starting to hit home among fans at the constraints he has been working under.
“I think it’s hitting home more now with people that this is how we’ve coped in the last two years, and I think we’ve done well out of it, really,” he said.
“We’ve used the loan market but as I’ve said in the past, you’re reliant on other clubs telling you when you can have their players.
“It was only in the second half of last season that we started to kick into gear and that’s because I’d got the players in that I needed to.
“The loan market has helped us in the past and now it’s the core of what we’re doing right now.”
Freedman is closing in on two years at Bolton but regardless of the changing financial landscape at the club, the Scot is well aware that a poor league position will not be tolerated on the terraces.
“Someone is going to have to take the stick, I understand that, but the fans have also got to understand where the football club is and what is going on; I think the majority do,” he said.
“I was brought to this club to try and get the younger footballers through to the first team and we still have to do that. It’s healthier but we still need to improve.
“We need to try and return to the top division, and I feel in that first year we were very, very close but now we’ve had to adjust the books.
“Something has had to give – and that’s on the pitch right now. When certain players leave it’s to balance the books.
“It started a few months after I got here with Martin Petrov, who was a fantastic lad but on a huge amount of money, and he wasn’t replaced.
“I’m really alright with the fans and the situation I’m in and the reason is because I know I’m doing the best job I possibly can with what we’ve got.”