One striker standing but Bolton Wanderers boss Dougie Freedman has no regrets over loaning out trio
DOUGIE Freedman is down on his luck and now down to his last fit striker.
Andre Moritz became the latest Wanderers attacker to be put out of commission when he limped off against Burnley with a hamstring injury which is likely to keep him out for several weeks.
Jermaine Beckford is still highly doubtful for this weekend’s trip to Millwall, while there appears no softening on the manager’s stance that young starlets such as Conor Wilkinson or Zach Clough are ready to make the step up to senior grade.
There are those who will feel Freedman is currently reaping what he has sown by allowing Craig Davies out on loan to Preston North End on transfer deadline day – a decision that still requires some substantiating in the eyes of many supporters.
Likewise, the sight of Tom Eaves and Marvin Sordell plying their trade elsewhere has served to heighten frustration on the terraces.
But even after revealing the news that Moritz’s injury could potentially be a serious one, leaving Lukas Jutkiewicz as the last man standing in the striker stakes, Freedman remained steadfast in his view that he had done the right thing by allowing his trio of front men to leave the Reebok.
Dismissing Eaves as “not ready to play in the Championship” and Davies as someone who “needed a run of games and was injured,” the manager insisted he still had enough firepower within his remaining squad to get results.
“We have got people in the team that are capable of scoring goals – like Liam Trotter and Mark Davies. Yes it’s unfortunate Jermaine Beckford is injured but I don’t think you can just pinpoint that (Craig Davies’s loan) as being the thing to blame,” he said.
“The chances are coming and our approach play has been good but we just need to start getting back to clean sheets, we proved that last year, and then I know we can get the goals we need to win games of football.”
Sordell, the £3.2million signing from Watford, has started the last two games for Charlton and scored in a recent defeat against Blackburn Rovers.
But while the option was there to recall him in January, Freedman passed on the opportunity, with serious concerns over the homesickness that blighted his short stay in the North West.
A future at Wanderers looks highly doubtful too, with the club unlikely to want to take on his wage again when he returns from The Valley in the summer.
If Beckford fails to come through in time for this weekend’s trip to The Den, he will almost certainly have to promote from within the club’s youth ranks.
He does want to bring another player in on loan before the close of the emergency window in a few weeks, with Cardiff City’s Joe Mason still in his sights.
Freedman had tried to land the 22-year-old on deadline day after allowing Davies to join Preston for the season but saw the move fall by the wayside on deadline day because of a personal matter.
The youngster had a mixed first spell on loan at the Reebok earlier in the season where he failed to completely win over the Wanderers fans, but is tipped to return in the coming weeks after returning to training with the Premier League club.
The demand has never been more acute, especially considering Moritz – regarded by Freedman as a striker – faces another lengthy lay-off.
He lasted just 10 minutes after coming on as a second-half substitute against Burnley and, shrugged the manager, sums up the bad fortune he is experiencing at present.
“He came on and then got a knee to the back of his hamstring and all of a sudden he had something looking like a golf ball in the back of his hamstring,” he said.
“It’s where we are right now and I’m trying not to get too down on it because it was just a challenge but this kind of stuff is being laid on you, and on you, and on you.
“He came on, then he’s off again and I have to use my last sub.”