Bolton Wanderers boss Dougie Freedman believes the 'dark days' are now behind the Whites as they head into last game with Birmingham City
6:00am Monday 28th April 2014 in Sport
DOUGIE Freedman has his fingers crossed that the “dark days” are now behind Wanderers as he heads into the final 90 minutes of the season.
It is nearly eight months since the day his side chalked up their first league win, ending their worst start for more than a century.
Next weekend they will face the same opposition in Birmingham City, perched precariously on the verge of relegation.
While the storm clouds have never left St Andrew’s since that October day when Neil Danns’ header was enough to take the club out of the bottom three, they have cleared about the Reebok of late.
There was plenty to admire about the manner and margin of superiority at Hillsborough, where Stuart Gray’s Wednesday were swept aside in a torrent of early goals.
“We have moved on a long way from the dark days at the start of the season,” Freedman said after the final whistle. “I’d like a lot more days like this at the club.
“We felt at the time that we needed to get through it and move on, and I think it’s starting to happen.”
There will be plenty of fans who reserve judgement until next season, when it is hoped that the slow start that had dogged the last two Championship campaigns will not continue to be an annual event.
What was admirable about the way Freedman’s side went about their business at Wednesday was that they did it in a very different style – one arguably more pleasing on the eye.
The defence has shown similar resolve to recent weeks but the passing was quicker through midfield and that gave the travelling band of fans plenty of entertainment in the Steel City.
“We had a bit of a plan, how we could control their big guy up front when they put balls into the box. I thought we defended well as a unit,” he said.
“Everyone had their jobs down to a tee.
“The passing through midfield really pleased me. You need to be able to play in different ways in this division, I can’t stress how important that is, so to see us go about it in the way we did was fantastic.
“If we’re being honest with ourselves, we should have had a couple more on the break.”
Perhaps Wanderers would have had more on the break, had referee Andy Davies’s assistants had their eyes in.
Jermaine Beckford was called offside on half a dozen occasions – but only a couple of times correctly, according to the Wanderers boss.
“I’ve got the video equipment and could see he was onside four times he was given off but I’m not going to criticise the linesmen,” he said.
“The speed of his movement is crucial and it got him in there a couple of times.
“They were that frightened of Jermaine’s pace that it allowed us to play through midfield and on certain days, that’s a plan.
“I look at the opposition and try to make a gameplan. I’m not someone who’ll just say they have to deal with us because sometimes it doesn’t work that way.
“I showed Sheffield Wednesday respect and played Jermaine on his own up front because I thought that would work for us. It did.
“They didn’t seem to know whether to drop deep or to squeeze the pitch.”