The future's bright for Dougie's Trotters

Monday 6th May 2013 8:26

Dougie Freedman: Turned Bolton's season around

Dougie Freedman: Turned Bolton's season around

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Bolton FanZoner Mickey Holland reflects on Wanderers' future prospects after the Trotters missed out on a play-off spot.

Another season in the Championship beckons after Bolton failed to pick up the three points needed against Blackpool to secure a place in the play-offs.

Had Leicester not scored deep in stoppage time at Forest then a point would have been enough but you can never rely on other results going your way and we had to do the job ourselves.

The fact that we couldn't suggests that we are not quite ready to make the step back up, but the future still looks a bright one under the leadership of boss Dougie Freedman, and next season we will.

No doubt about it, the damage was done in the first 10 or so games of the season when Owen Coyle was still in charge and we were sliding towards League One.

So for Freedman to turn things around so quickly with pretty much the same bunch of players, shows what a top manager he is and why every Wanderers fan should be excited about the future.

We started the season with a team that had a losing mentality following relegation, we ended with a team who went into games expecting to win and that bodes well for next season.

It was a tremendous effort by all concerned in the second half of the season but some cracks were still evident. Freedman did his best to paper over them but he will now have the chance to fill them properly over the summer.

Changes will of course be made as Freedman looks to put his own stamp on the squad and the Scot revealed before the Blackpool game that two new signings are pretty much in the bag already, one of which is thought to be Owen Garvan from Crystal Palace.

All Bolton fans will also be hoping that Craig Dawson and Jay Spearing can return again next season. Had both players been available against Blackpool, this article would probably be very different, and we'd be looking forward to a double-header against Watford.

Dawson made a huge difference at the back after arriving from West Brom and it is no coincidence that the huge gaps at the back reappeared against the Seasiders with him out of the side.

The Baggies will not entertain the idea of selling Dawson but there is a chance we can get him back on loan if Steve Clarke believes he is not quite ready for the first team at the Hawthorns so fingers crossed.

As for Spearing, Liverpool will be willing to sell but whether he can be lured to the Reebok is another matter.

There is sure to be Premier League interest following his impressive performances for us and Newcastle are said to be among the clubs who are showing an interest.

Keeping hold of Chris Eagles will also be crucial and you can only hope that the powers that be have told Freedman he is under no pressure to sell for at least another season.

Apart from Eagles I can't see there being a huge clamour for the rest of the squad and it could even be a case of Freedman struggling to sell those players on decent contracts that he wants rid of.

Marcos Alonso is out of contract and looks set to move on, but even if he stays, both full-back positions are an area of weakness and will need to be strengthened over the summer.

As will the strikers. Super Kev has waved goodbye, leaving David N'Gog, Craig Davies and Tom Eaves, so at least one striker will be needed.

Freedman will know exactly who he wants to bring in and who he wants out so it looks set to be an interesting summer for sure.

Finally it was sad to say goodbye to Kevin Davies, who will be leaving after a memorable 10 years at the Reebok and his tears as he left the pitch showed what the club means to him.

The fans have and always will love him, but it is rare these days to see a player have such an emotional tie to a club, and hopefully one day he may be able to return in some capacity.

It is also sad because it marks the end of an era. Davies was the last man standing from Big Sam's time at the club when we went toe to toe with Manchester United and Bayern Munich.

All great things have to come to an end though, and like Dougie Freedman says, it is time to look to the future, and despite a disappointing end to the season, I think it's a bright one.

Follow Mickey on Twitter at @Mickey_Holland.

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