Bolton Wanderers will not be in awe of Premier League table-topping Chelsea in Wednesday night’s Capital One Cup third-round clash, says manager Dougie Freedman.
The Trotters have toiled in the competition so far this season, needing extra-time to see off both League Two Bury and League One Crewe Alexandra.
They are without a victory in 18 meetings with Chelsea over the last 11 years, but Freedman believes there is no reason that they cannot cause an upset.
“We go into it as the underdogs with more pressure on Chelsea to win,” said the 40-year-old. “It’s something we’re looking forward to.
“If Chelsea have any weaknesses, a lot of teams are yet to find them. It’s going to be a very difficult match for us.
“Jose Mourinho holds a very good squad and whatever line-up he picks it will be a very strong opposition.
“We’re respectful of Chelsea but we won’t be in awe. We’ll go there and give a good account of ourselves.
“We deserve this opportunity, it’s a great chance for us to play against the very best and there’s no reason it can’t be us who causes an upset.”
The Glaswegian also stated that he would be playing a strong side at Stamford Bridge, and may opt for experience over youth.
“I feel very passionately about this competition and we’ll play a strong side,” he added. “We’ll rotate our squad but we won’t be playing younger players with no experience.
“It’s a chance for some of our more senior players to get some valuable game time, and we’ll take players who can help us do well at Chelsea.”
Meanwhile, new signing Chris Herd is likely to make his debut for the club in the tie after arriving on a six-week loan from Aston Villa.
“Chris ticks the box of being able to play in several positions,” Freedman said of the Australian international. “He’ll be very valuable in a difficult run of games.”
Main image courtesy of Bolton Wanderers FC via YouTube, with thanks.