Injury-hit Bolton Wanderers down to 'bare bones' for Hillsborough clash
DOUGIE Freedman admits he is worried by the number of injuries stacking up in his squad as he approaches the penultimate game of the season.
Alex Baptiste joined a lengthy casualty list on Tuesday when he failed a pre-match fitness test on a hip problem, and has been rated a doubt for this weekend’s trip to face Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough.
Eight senior stars are now out of action, with Freedman already unable to call on Mark Davies (groin), Stuart Holden (knee), Joe Riley (knee), Darren Pratley (shoulder), Andre Moritz (hamstring), Medo Kamara (stomach) and Alan Hutton (knee).
The Wanderers boss gave Hayden White his full debut in the 1-0 home defeat to Leicester City and also brought Chris Lester and Andy Kellett off the bench for their first games for the club.
Other untested development squad stars Oscar Threlkeld, Georg Iliev and Andy Robinson were named on the bench, with Jermaine Beckford the only senior outfield option.
The situation has become a concern to Freedman: “We’re down to bare bones if you saw the bench,” he said. “I don’t know what’s happened to the squad.
“A few weeks ago I looked at the bench and it was the strongest since I’ve been at the football club.
“No disrespect to the youngsters but (against Leicester) there were five players who hadn’t even made their debut on the pitch.”
Freedman made a late switch after Baptiste’s withdrawal against Leicester, moving to a wing-back system with three centre-halves.
The Scot has not ruled out doing the same this weekend but says he will not be putting his youngsters into the mix simply to experiment.
“I know everyone – I don’t need to look at them,” he said.
“I’ll pick the best possible team I’ve got available to beat Sheffield Wednesday.
“If that means a couple of youngsters then fine and I don’t see why not. They are performing well in training.”