Boss Dougie eyeing a top 10 spot for Wanderers at start of the new year

First published in Sport The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , chief football writer

WANDERERS finished 2012 on a high note – and Dougie Freedman now has the top 10 in his sights.

An impressive 3-1 victory over Birmingham City on Saturday provided a much needed boost after successive defeats, raising hopes that a promotion push can be launched in the New Year.

Another three points against Leeds United tomorrow could conceivably put the Whites into the top 10 for the first time since early September.

And while Freedman urged his players to keep their feet on the ground heading to Elland Road, he reckons there is still plenty of improvement to come.

“We believe in what we are doing,” he said. “If you have that purpose, train properly and respond to criticism in the right way, you will always get those happier moments.

“I’m not just in this game for results, I’m in it for pleasure, and I was really pleased with what I saw (against Birmingham).

“All we’d had was a couple of defeats. I have got a good bunch of lads here who are desperately trying to do well. Unfortunately, they had a difficult year on and off the pitch and right now that’s hard but slowly and surely I will turn that round. I want to do that playing a certain way and I thought today our passing and moving was fantastic.

“I don’t know what happened in the past but that’s what I like to watch and hopefully the fans like to watch it too.”

Further progress will hinge upon Wanderers’ ability to string results together.

Back-to-back league victories had only been achieved once in 2012, and Freedman was reluctant to put too much emphasis on the outcome against Leeds – looking instead for a continuation of the flowing football that had helped to topple Birmingham.

“You are always looking to build on results but on top of that the way we passed and moved the ball, which was especially difficult when you are 1-0 down as we found ourselves at one point, is something to build on too.

“I honestly believe we have the quality here but it is a very difficult time for the club, coming down from the Premiership with a lot of weight on their shoulders. It is going to take time, the right passing, the right movement, to get results.”

Freedman returns to one of his former clubs tomorrow as a popular figure among the Leeds fans.

The Scot helped the club into the League One play-off final in the latter stages of his playing career during a loan spell from Crystal Palace in which he scored six goals in 14 games.

And he also holds Leeds boss Neil Warnock in high regard, having worked alongside him at Selhurst Park.

“I will enjoy going back (to Elland Road) because there are some lovely people there,” he said.

“Neil Warnock is a very good manager who I have got a lot of time for. He gave me my first job in football as a reserve team coach at Crystal Palace.”

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