Dougie Freedman voices frustration as two youngsters fail to make the grade with Bolton Wanderers
WANDERERS allowed two young players to leave the building yesterday – with Dougie Freedman warning standards must improve if others are to reach his first team.
Jan Gregus returned to Banik Ostrava after failing to make the breakthrough in a year-long loan, while Michael O’Halloran left for St Johnstone after making just two cup appearances in three years at the Reebok.
Freedman has come under fire from Wanderers fans for the lack of younger players coming through the system, despite his repeated pledges to do so in the future.
Five youngsters have been drafted into today’s FA Cup squad for the third-round tie against Blackpool but the Scot says he is still waiting for compelling evidence to include his starlets on a regular basis.
“If I’m being honest, none of them has stood out and said that they definitely should be playing,” he told The Bolton News.
“Young Hayden White has done quite well and I’ve got him on the bench but getting to that next level – the last five per cent is always the hardest.
“It’s alright getting them in the building or training with the first team but getting them on the pitch is the difficult part.
“I’m disappointed that I haven’t put more of them in, even though it is combined with the situation we’re in. There is definitely room.
“You look at the squad I have got, some people say it is big, but I’ve got four fit defenders in the building. There is scope there for young Hayden White or Cian Bolger to crack through and hopefully they will do. I have brought in five (young) players to a squad of 20 so there might be an opportunity for one or two to get on to the bench.”
On Gregus’s departure, Freedman admitted it has been a tough decision to send him back to Slovakia.
“It was a difficult one with Jan because we have young Josh Vela in that position and Gary Fraser is also coming back,” he said. “To have three young players all trying to break through in the same position is one too many, plus I have Luke Woodland coming through the other way.
“The other thing is that we had to buy him, so that was why the decision was made.”