WANDERERS have withdrawn plans to push Marc Tierney into the first- team reckoning before the end of this season.
The full-back, who has been out since September with a broken leg, was expected to feature in the last few games after returning to full training.
But Dougie Freedman has revealed he is not now planning to risk the 28-year-old left-back, with the club sitting comfortably in the Championship.
“He’s out running, his leg is okay, but he’s lacking a lot of conditioning,” he said. “He isn’t quite there strength-wise and so it’s a risk.
“We could have possibly pushed him, if needed, but we have decided against it, so he won’t play for the remainder of the season.
“To push him and take a gamble – what for? It’s been a long injury and the sports scientists tell me that possibly he can pick up other injuries, calf, hamstrings, things like that.
“We’ve just taken the view to get him strengthened over the summer, take no risks, and leave him until next season.”
Fellow full-back Joe Riley falls into the same category, although Freedman believes the academy product could feature in a couple of development squad games before the end of the season.
Riley has been out of action since last summer with a cruciate ligament injury but has also recently returned to full duties in training.
And Freedman reckons the home-grown 22-year-old is showing encouraging signs that his injury problems are now behind him.
“He could possibly feature in one or two games right at the end, just to make sure that he gets a cooling down period over the summer,” he told The Bolton News.
“Last summer he was fighting for Alex Baptiste’s spot at right-back and they were both doing very well, then Joe gets that bit of bad luck.
“If I’m going to be harsh on Joe, I think he’s now understanding exactly what is expected of him. Maybe the injury could have been prevented, I don’t know, but he certainly now knows how to live his life like a professional and how to conduct himself.
“I’m hoping this injury has given him something and that he knows it isn’t plain sailing. He knows he has to work hard at his game, and strangely, I think he might be stronger for it.
“He’s literally trained every day for nine months in a row and that will make you mentally tough.”