Time is tight but Bolton Wanderers refuse to concede defeat in chase for Middlesbrough striker Lukas Jutkiewicz
DOUGIE Freedman is holding out hope that Wanderers can still do a deal to sign Lukas Jutkiewicz but admits time is not on his side.
Boro reportedly want £1.5million for the 25-year-old but their efforts to get a bidding war started between Burnley, Wanderers and other suitors such as Derby County and Wolves appear to have forced the whole transfer into a stalemate.
Sources at Turf Moor claim they are closest to a conclusion and that the move could be sealed early this week.
And there was a sense of frustration in Freedman’s words as he refused to give up on the striker he helped back to top form at the end of last season.
“We would all love to see Lukas back at this football club, I’m no different,” he told The Bolton News. “But we know it isn’t that simple – the financial side of things is something we all have to come to terms with.
“It doesn’t surprise me that other clubs are looking at him and we are one of them but it has to be a deal to suit everybody.
“I’m sure our fans understand that, and they are behind us, and if it comes to the point where we can’t sign Lukas then they also know there are other players we can look at too.”
Wanderers won their second pre-season friendly against FC Vestsjaelland yesterday thanks to a first-half strike from Liam Feeney.
It perhaps proved to be a tougher afternoon than expected for the Whites but Freedman was pleased with the workout his side got on the day.
“It was a very good pre-season game for us,” he said. “We’re at a place where their fitness levels are four or five weeks ahead of us and they are ready for their season.
“I felt we stuck at it, made a few good chances, but we didn’t take them. The longer that goes on, the closer the game seems to get.”
Joe Riley, Oscar Threlkeld and Josh Vela played 90 minutes for the Whites, while David Wheater, Adam Bogdan, Liam Trotter and Mark Davies sat it out.
Freedman insisted his camp was injury-free, although some players were being carefully managed in order to avoid them picking up knocks.
“Three young lads played 90 minutes and that is great for them. I want them to be playing football – and when I got to this club a couple of years ago I was amazed that none of the younger ones were out on loan. At that age they should be playing night and day.”
* Wanderers are expected to confirm today the signing of Cardiff full-back Kevin McNaughton on a season-long loan.