Kevin Davies Slams Freedman; Backs Lennon Appointment

  • October 12, 2014 | By Chris Mann
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Former Bolton captain Kevin Davies has criticised Dougie Freedman's reign as manager and believes Neil Lennon is capable of turning the club around.

Davies spent 10 years with Wanderers, between 2003 and 2013, before leaving the club after falling out of favour in his final months at the Reebok Stadium.

The Preston North End forward has previously kept a dignified silence on Freedman's tenure, but has told reporters for the first time about the problems inside the club prior to his departure nearly 18 months ago.

"I don't want to come across as bitter, but I think he created a bad atmosphere," Davies told talkSPORT.

"It became a sterile place. What the club stood for when Sam Allardyce was there was the fans, the togetherness. It was a great club, a family club, and it felt like that had been ripped out. It wasn't a great place to be.

"I didn't really enjoy training. There was a line between the staff and the players and the people at the academy. There were factions around the club.

"It needs to be brought together. There is a lot of work to do. Everyone needs to be pulling in the right direction."

In a related but separate interview with Sky Sports News HQ, Davies gave his approval to Freedman's successor at Macron Stadium - Neil Lennon - who he believes has the necessary credentials to lift the club from its current position.

"I think it's good news for the club," Davies said. "He's now got a full week of training ahead of a big game next weekend down at Birmingham.

"They've moved pretty quickly - I think they've had a lot of names thrown in, a lot of applications.

"People obviously wanted the job because of the stature of the club. He's going to a fantastic football club, there's no doubt about that, but, currently, rock bottom after losing their last five games and they're in a bit of trouble so he's got a lot of work to do.

"Obviously now it's all about getting out of trouble and getting as far up that table as far from that relegation zone as they can.

"I think the first job he needs to do is just to go in there and lift the mood, lift the spirit, use all that enthusiasm that he brings to the table and just get the confidence back into the players - that's the biggest job.

"I watched them a couple of weeks ago and they looked really lost and low in confidence. Restoring that confidence back in the players, getting the players to come in and train with a smile on their faces and enjoying their football.

"I think it will lift the crowd, as well, when they get back to the Macron and play.

"He just needs to go in there and give the whole club a lift and, I think, with his huge personality, he's capable of doing that."

Last week, Davies admitted he would 'consider' any approach to return to Wanderers, but says with names such as Lennon, Chris Hughton, Malky Mackay and Steve Clarke also believed to have been in contention, he wasn't surprised to be given the cold shoulder.

"I certainly had no contact from the club," he said.

"Like I said before, they did have a lot of applicants - I'm plying my trade just up the road at Preston and enjoying that. I'm looking forward to getting back in training tomorrow because I've been out injured for a few weeks with a broken rib.

"I had no contact from the club, but they've made their decision and they've got a really good young manager in there. I think he'll go in there and do a good job - he's still young, he's still learning and I think he's only been a manager for four years.

"We've all seen Neil doing the punditry stuff, but you can just sense he's dying to get back in the hotseat and I think the club have made a good decision."

When asked if a return to Bolton could be on the cards once his playing career comes to an end, Davies revealed he is currently in the process of studying to become a coach and hopes to use his experience of working in the academy at Wanderers and Preston to move on to bigger things in the future.

"Possibly - my son is involved at the academy down there, so I spend a lot of time down there and I've obviously got a lot of good friends who are still working for the club," he said.

"A lot of people have lost their jobs but I do still have some great memories there and I'm fond of the club because of what I did over that 10-year period.

"I'm just going to enjoy playing the rest of this season with Preston.

"It'll be nice just to go down to the club now and spend a bit of time at the academy and do a bit of coaching. I am on my A-license, so I am doing a bit of coaching with Preston and Bolton.

"If I can build up my experience and just help some of the kids, then that would be great."

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Pos Team Pld Pts
11 Ipswich Town 20 27
12 Cheltenham Town 19 27
13 Bolton Wanderers 20 26
14 Accrington Stanley 19 24
15 Charlton Athletic 20 23
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