Take pride and move forward: Dougie Freedman admits disappointment at Bolton Wanderers’ play-off failure

By Sam Ruffe

Bolton Wanderers boss Dougie Freedman insists his side can be extremely proud of their recent achievements, despite narrowly missing out on the play-offs with a draw against Blackpool.

A quick-fire double from Chris Eagles and Craig Davies looked to have secured the Trotters a coveted sixth spot after Matt Phillips and Ludovic Sylvestre gave the visitors and early lead.

However Leicester City’s late winner against Nottingham Forest relegated Bolton to seventh place on goal difference, but although incredibly disappointed, Freedman remained hopeful for the future.

“We’ve been on a fantastic run of late and can take pride from what we have been doing both on and off the field in the last three months,” he said.

“Yes, we’re disappointed now but we are very optimistic moving forward. We’re integrating young players into our team and are building something special going forward.

“It was all about us, unfortunately we’ve come up just a little bit short. I couldn’t have asked for nothing more from my players.”

Freedman welcomed Blackpool having made three changes from the side that drew 1-1 with champions Cardiff City last week, as Tim Ream, Davies and debutant Robert Hall were all included.

The Tangerines took a deserved lead 22 minutes in when Scottish international Phillips collected the ball inside the area and lashed a shot into the top corner past Adam Bogdan.

The visitors found a second moments later as Sylvestre made a darting run from midfield and coolly side footed past Hungarian Bogdan to give the Whites a mountain to climb.

However, Bolton refused to let their heads drop and in first half injury time Eagles drew one back with a neat effort that sailed into the top corner past Matt Gilks.

And just seconds later the sell-out Reebok crowd was sent into raptures as Davies’  20-yard strike took a heavy deflection, giving Gilks no chance in the Blackpool net.

But Bolton failed to push on in the second half and ultimately paid the price as Leicester’s injury time winner booked their spot in the play-offs.

However Freedman, while thanking the Bolton faithful for their unwavering support, insisted his side will not dwell on their disappointment and will instead look to build for next season.

“I’d like to offer my heartfelt thanks to the supporters for their backing this season both home and away. Today, they were fantastic and my disappointment is for them,” he said.

“It’s no good thinking what might have been. We’ve got to look forward. I’m looking to make one or two changes that will help see us move up the league next season.”

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