Pre-Match: Freedman on Bolton v Leeds

  • September 12, 2013 | By Chris Mann
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Dougie Freedman says Bolton are over their crushing defeat at Blackburn Rovers and are ready for Saturday's visit of Leeds United.

Two weeks have passed since Wanderers were beaten 4-1 at Ewood Park, and Freedman says the mood around the camp was purposely 'sheepish' as he looked to get across just how disappointed he was to his players.

With the international break over and club action set to resume at the weekend, the Trotters boss says his players are mentally and physically prepared for Saturday's game against Leeds - although he will make checks on the likes of Jermaine Beckford, Lee Chung-Yong and Medo Kamara, who have all been involved in World Cup qualifying action in the last fortnight.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Freedman said: "(It was) a strange atmosphere for the first three or four days. I would say we were very sheepish around the place and I wanted to try and keep that as long as I could, so the players understood exactly how disappointed everybody should be.

"Over the last 10 days we've worked extremely hard and we've built up to a position that we are very tuned into what we are doing. The atmosphere now is one of 'let's change this round'.

"We're a very determined group. We've been working very hard over the ten days, not necessarily physically, because I think we've put a lot of physical in over the last ten days, and in a lot of detail in making sure everybody starts playing as a team and not as individuals. We need to make sure that we work to attack as a team and defend as a team, and when we're attacking we need to make sure we're defensively locked in and switched on to counter attacks, which has been happening to us.

"We've worked very hard over the last ten days, resulting, hopefully, in a good performance and a win on Saturday.

"Everybody is fit, which is good. It's been difficult for us, I won't lie. It's hard for me to talk within the three or four sequence of games. I don't want to come across with excuses, but the simple facts are that we've been missing a few players. One or two players aren't quite up to speed because of international duty in the summer.

"We've had this ten day period to work them, as I say, one or two physically, but most of them in detail and most are raring to go, so I've got a good strong squad to pick from on Saturday and I'm looking forward to that."

Saturday's game could see one former Leeds player line-up against his former club. Beckford was on the books at Elland Road between 2005 and 2010, where he scored 85 goals in 152 games, before moving to Premier League side Everton on a free transfer.

More than three years on, Freedman, himself a former Leeds forward, says Beckford is desperate to play and he will be assessed ahead of kick-off, after playing for Jamaica in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

"He (Beckford) is desperate to play this weekend," Freedman said. "I've had the old text's from Jermaine and he's desperate to get out there.

"I've got to see him and look him in the eye, I'll be doing that later on today, to make sure he's okay. Physically he'll be fine, because these days these boys travel first class. I just need to look him in the eye to make sure he's mentally tuned in and he's not got any hangover of the Blackburn game, because that's what we've spent a lot of time with the group of players here getting over, and they're certainly over that, so there's my decision."

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Pos Team Pld Pts
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20 AFC Wimbledon 35 35
21 Tranmere Rovers 34 32
22 Southend United 35 19
23 Bolton Wanderers 34 14
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