Freedman hails super-fit Davies after his Forest return

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

WANDERERS boss Dougie Freedman is confident midfielder Mark Davies will be raring to go again at Derby tonight despite a first outing in more than two months at the weekend.

Davies returned to the starting line-up at Nottingham Forest after being sidelined with a shoulder injury since before Christmas and played 90 minutes.

The nature of his injury meant he was able to keep up his general fitness and after revealing the man who celebrated his 25th birthday yesterday had lost seven pounds in weight during his rehabilitation, his manager says he is as fit as any member of his squad ahead of the trip to Pride Park.

Freedman said: “It was a risk to play Mark on Saturday but I felt it was worth it because we had to play a certain way against Forest. I thought we coped very well.

“Mark got a good 90 minutes under his belt. It was quite fortunate the nature of his injury because for the nine weeks he was out, he only had two weeks where he couldn’t run.

“He has been running for six weeks and has lost seven pounds; he is in really good shape.

“Mark is ready to go again and he’s a good player and as a coach you want good players in your team every game.”

Another who could be in contention is centre-back David Wheater who was back on the bench at Forest after nine months out with a cruciate knee ligament injury.

Freedman will be forced to shuffle his defence with Marcos Alonso suspended after his weekend dismissal and the Scot says he would have no hesitation in bringing back Wheater.

However, it is more likely that Sam Ricketts will slot in at left-back.

The Whites boss continued: “Obviously it’s disappointing to lose Marcos but we feel we have a strong enough squad to cope with it.

“Wheats is ready right now and I would have no hesitation in playing him tonight if I needed to.

“He has played four or five games and trained very well.

“Getting players back, like Mark (Davies) and Wheats gives me options and also an opportunity to play different teams and use different tactics.

“Gone are the days where you can play the same 11 players every week.

“I feel if somebody can do a job for us, they have a right to play.

“Different teams pose different problems each game.

“It’s up to me as a coach to analyse what those problems are and how to deal with them.

“The modern-day game is also about using your substitutes very well.

“The athleticism in the game is such that players tire as the game goes on.

“If I can use my substitutes well then it can be beneficial.

“There is a plan and a rotation is something I am a big fan of.”

Substitutions have certainly paid off in the last two matches with Craig Davies coming on to score important goals in back-to-back matches.

Freedman has been pleased with his input but may still opt to keep him in reserve tonight.

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