Dougie Freedman's Bolton Wanderers blueprint is taking shape
DOUGIE Freedman sends his Wanderers side out at high-flying Derby County tomorrow night confident they can extend their winning run and prove they are the right players to take the club forward.
And he says a lot of it is down to bringing in the right personnel with traits he feels are suited to the Championship.
Recent performances have impressed, not least Saturday’s thumping of Leeds, though Freedman says displays have merited more points for several weeks.
And the manager reckons if they can come through another tough test at third-placed Derby, it will be more proof his blueprint for the Whites is progressing.
Freedman told The Bolton News: “You get a lot of knockers and a lot of people who don’t come and watch us have an opinion and that carries a bit of weight with some fans.
“I honestly think the last dozen games we have been playing very well.
“Certain results have not gone our way for very different reasons but the performance and commitment has been there.
“Now we are starting to see the results come with that.
“It’s been a difficult season but it has been one where we have stuck at it, turned it around and we are now playing good stuff.
“I always said when we got the right profile of player in the team it would give us a great chance.
“I was really pleased in terms of how we passed the ball around in midfield at Leeds – we controlled possession at a place where it is never easy.
“Getting goals from set-pieces like we did at Leeds is pleasing because you work on them at both ends.
“The delivery from Jay Spearing was fantastic. If you can get him sending it into a certain area then you have half a chance – even a defender can knock it in.”
“This is down to the hard work on the training ground – this just does not come overnight.
“I have known this has been coming because I see these players Monday to Friday and we have the right kind of personnel in the team.
“Some people don’t see what happens and I don’t think I have to explain every decision I make because it wouldn’t be fair.
“But every decision I do make is in the best interests of the football club and there is a plan behind it.
“You will get defeats along the way but it is a transitional period.
“You have to be physical, athletic and have a bit of quality and hang on in games.
“I think we are getting those players here now.”
Freedman’s masterplan at the Reebok is to build a side full of youth and athleticism to cope with the rigours of Championship football – something he sees in tonight’s opposition who have gone through a similar rebuild since their drop out of the Premier League in 2008.
He cites the Derby model as one to copy but his only plan tonight is to inflict a third successive defeat on Steve McClaren’s men.
And it may be he sticks with the same side that put in a five-star showing at Elland Road.
Freedman added: “Derby have been built over the last four or five years since they were relegated.
“They were in a financial situation and bought a lot of young players and they are coming to the front right now.
“My plan is to not be that long in doing that here but that is an ideal model.
“The likes of Burnley and Derby have done it right by not spending and spending but developing younger players and they are getting their rewards now.
“I expect a tough game and a response from their disappointing result on Saturday.
“I expect them to be a very free-flowing team with only one or two players in a structure so that can give you problems.
“But the way we are playing right now, we are riding high and there is no need to change the way we are playing too much.
“I like to keep it fresh. The modern way, particularly in the Championship, is to not be afraid to change things.
“The players I have now at this football cub, including those on the bench, are ones I believe in.
“I like to keep standards high so just because we won 4-0 and 5-1 doesn’t necessarily mean I will stick to the same team. I will pick a team I believe can beat Derby.
“It is all about keeping the lads focused going forward and not look back too much on what we have done.
“We spent a bit more time out on the training pitch today with the good weather making sure we pay attention to detail for the games we have coming up.
“It’s now about putting that into practice at Derby.”