Fans urged to give Craig Davies time to shape up

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

MANAGER Dougie Freedman says Wanderers fans may have to wait a little longer to see the best of new signing Craig Davies.

The Wales international striker, pictured right celebrating scoring at the Reebok for Barnsley in November, made his Whites debut in Saturday’s goalless draw at Crystal Palace as a late replacement for Darren Pratley.

It was just a five-minute cameo at Selhurst Park and Freedman has revealed his decision not to start the former Barnsley man is down to a belief he is still short of full match fitness.

Davies completed his switch to the Reebok Stadium on his 27th birthday on January 9 but has had to wait to make his debut.

His last outing for Barnsley was on New Year’s Day and he was substituted 67 minutes into the 2-1 defeat at Peterborough.

His last full 90 minutes came in the Tykes’ home defeat to Sheffield Wednesday on December 15 – more than a month ago.

Freedman concedes that is currently his concern with his first permanent Whites signing.

The boss said: “I’m not entirely happy with his fitness levels and he had a bit of a lay-off before he came here.

“The way I work, I think he has got a little way to go but he has certainly worked hard in the 10 days he’s been here and looking in a little bit better condition.”

Freedman has no long-term concerns over the impact the much-travelled frontman will have for Wanderers.

But he is wary not to throw him into the thick of things without being satisfied with his fitness, particularly after a hamstring injury earlier in the campaign.

The Scot added: “The problem is that Craig had a hamstring problem a couple of months before he came here so I don’t want to rush him into anything.

“He’ll continue to work on the training ground but if you know him like I do and the attitude he shows, he’ll certainly get fit. ”

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