Wanderers managers Dougie Freedman has been spouting forth to the Bolton News regarding loan players, and as usual sending out mixed messages.
“On my behalf it can get frustrating getting loan players in and making them better players. That side of the loan market for me takes a lot of work. I like to get the right ones at the right price – not just to get their careers going,” he said, referring to Craig Dawson, the individual most responsible for last season’s late surge up the table.
When it comes to Joe Mason, who at 22, is surely classed as a player to be developed, it’s a different story. “Quite simply their manager called Joe back because he wants to have a better look at him. But we have said to Cardiff that if Kevin [McNaughton] or Joe became available please can you contact us, and they have said yes they would.”
Such flip-flopping is common for Dithering Dougie. He praises players then drops them, says that he’ll move others on and doesn’t do, and displays a quirky way with team selection. In Freedman land, playing well in one game is no guarantee that you’ll take place in the next.
It seems that Dougie doesn’t know what he wants. One wonders if he’s secretly a woman.
By contrast, Saturday’s opponents Nottingham Forest are led by a man who definitely knows his own mind, to the extent that in the past it’s cost him gainful employment. There’s a business maxim:
“The sound of two people shouting is an argument. The sound of three people shouting is a discussion.”
The sound of one person shouting is Billy Davies.
However, whilst Davies, a cross between TV detective Jim Taggart and Chucky out of Child’s play, may be a tad argumentative, he knows his stuff. The Glasweigan has taken all three English sides he’s managed to the Championship play offs and in one case to the Premier League, albeit briefly.
The reverse fixture at the City Ground back in August was embarrassingly one sided, with Forest running out easy 3-0 winners. In fact the scoreline could have been more emphatic had the home team not taken their foot off the gas just past the hour mark.
Given that Bolton haven’t beaten a side in the top half of the division this season, the visitors start as strong favourites. Against teams with width, Freedman’s men have struggled. There will be an added vulnerability with Tim Ream standing in at left back, unless Dougie has loaned someone good (but old) for that position while this preview was being written.
But the result isn’t a foregone conclusion. With attacking players in the centre of the park, like Mark Davies, Lee Chung-Yong and Chris Eagles, the Whites are capable of inconveniencing anyone at this level. But first they’ll have to win the midfield battles. Sit back, and they may as well hand over the three points now and spend the afternoon at the January sales.
It’s all down to the Freedman strategy. If only we could be sure he’s decided what it is.
– Richard McCormick