Wanderers boss feels fans' pain
DOUGIE Freedman hopes three points and some local bragging rights can provide Wanderers’ fans with the perfect pick-me-up this weekend.
Heading into a grudge match with Burnley at the Reebok, the Whites boss has picked up on the sense of disappointment felt by fans in recent weeks.
Wanderers have failed to build on some epic performances in the FA Cup and, consequently, have found themselves dragged down to the fringe of the relegation issue where they sit just three points outside the Championship drop zone with a game in hand.
Freedman shares in the frustration but has asked for fans to stick with the team as they enter into the final third of the season.
“I am disappointed for the fans because they have been great since I have been here,” he said. “They have been behind me in seeing what I am trying to do.
“Of course, you will get a section who think we should win every week. But the majority of the fans are seeing what we are trying to do and the football we are trying to play.
“Then they are getting a bit baffled by how the results are not following.
“For me, it’s part and parcel of the game. I have been at it for 20 odd years and my record wasn’t great at scoring goals every week.
“I went through spells many times where I couldn’t score but then had those spells when I did score a few.
“You have to believe as long as you train right and you keep doing what you believe in, that’s the key.
“The fans can see bits of the jigsaw coming together but not all of it just yet.”
A big piece of that jigsaw could come in the form of an overdue victory over the Clarets, who have triumphed in each of the last two meetings between the clubs.
An emphatic defeat at Turf Moor on the opening day of the season set the tone for what was to come for the team then managed by Owen Coyle.
But Freedman is keen to avoid the same pitfalls, and has schooled his players this week on maintaining their poise in what will most likely be a frenetic atmosphere on and off the pitch.
“We've talked about staying calm and patient in possession,” he said.
“We have to make sure we understand the occasion and that there might be off-the-ball stuff that we have to contend with.
“We've spoken with the players this week about getting the ball and staying in control.
“That's what happens sometimes with derby matches – you can win and lose them without it even being on the ball.
“We have trained very hard on that this week and made sure the players understand they need to be patient. We don't give the ball away cheaply and ensure we continue to ask questions.”