Where will Dougie Freedman find his Plan B?
THE next move in the transfer market made by Dougie Freedman might very well be his most important since taking over the Reebok reins a little under a year ago.
Indications behind the scenes suggest Wanderers could be about to loosen the purse strings enough to allow Freedman scope for one or two new signings, possibly before this weekend’s clash with Yeovil Town.
Defeat at Brighton on Saturday had the manager alluding to a “Plan B” in which he would seek outside help to boost a dressing room whose confidence levels appeared to have hit an all-time low at the Amex Stadium.
“We might need to bring in one or two different types of characters. That’s the Plan B – we have to go to try and get some momentum,” he said after the final whistle.
“There is no question the players here have ability but their mind-set needs to change.”
Similar indications had been made after the derby defeat at Blackburn Rovers 48 hours prior to the close of the transfer window. But on that occasion, efforts to freshen the squad proved fruitless.
This time, Freedman has little option but to try to bring in a fresh voice, having exhausted pretty much every option available to him in his current squad.
Eight games into the current campaign, Wanderers continue to look a side with a soft centre.
While much of the fans’ ire has been directed at captain Zat Knight in the centre of defence, five goals shipped in the two games since he was dropped to the bench suggest the problems are slightly more widespread.
Matt Mills and David Wheater have produced workmanlike performances since being paired in the draw against Derby but organisation across the back line still looks an issue.
The smart money would be on Freedman making a “big voice” at the back his most pressing priority – and a target with the presence of Paddy McCarthy, his former Crystal Palace charge, or Cardiff City’s Mark Hudson, would tick that box.
A few weeks ago Freedman also made a failed move for right-back Peter Ramage, another former colleague at Selhurst Park, which suggests Alex Baptiste could also be an option being considered in the middle of defence.
Freedman’s stance is a far cry from eight months ago when Wanderers dropped to 20th position in the Championship after a 2-1 defeat at Watford.
Back then, the Scot came out fighting when it was suggested after the game that he should be preparing for a relegation battle.
“I don’t care what anyone else thinks,” he snapped. “I know there is enough quality in that dressing room to springboard up the table.
“If I thought about what anyone else thinks then I would not be here.
“Anyone who has an idea what they are talking about will understand that the way we are playing we are close to it.”
His bullishness was quickly backed up when just a week later he introduced Craig Dawson into the team for a victory over Burnley. The rest, as they say, is history.
This time around Freedman has been fighting to instigate change and with signs that he is winning the battle, the expectation on an incoming signing will be considerable.
The task for the manager now is to find someone else who is up for the challenge.