FREED­MAN: I’VE GOT FIGHT IN ME

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Ju­lian Groves

THE BOO boys were out in full force for Dougie Freed­man after another limp per­for­mance, but the Scot says he’s been mis­un­der­stood by the Bolton sup­port­ers.

Chris Martin made up for his early miss from the penalty spot with goals ei­ther side of half-time as Derby sneaked back into the play-off places.

But there was no hid­ing place for Freed­man as the Trot­ters slumped to their sixth Cham­pi­onship de­feat of the sea­son.

Sec­tions of support were call­ing on him to re­sign, while a smat­ter­ing made their voices heard out­side the Macron Sta­dium after the fi­nal whis­tle.

How­ever, a de­fi­ant Freed­man in­sists he’s made of sterner stuff than to quit when the go­ing gets tough.

“I’ve still got the fight in me,” he said.“I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing but that’s the way I’m built.

“When I got into foot­ball man­age­ment four or five years ago, it was a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion.

“The mes­sage I want to get through to the fans is I’ve got to make it a lit­tle bit more sim­ple for them, more black and white.

“We will have an idea ex­actly what we’re go­ing to do from Mon­day morn­ing, and I will take that re­spon­si­bil­ity on my­self to do it.

“I’m very, very proud of be­ing man­ager of this won­der­ful foot­ball club and I un­der­stand the frus­tra­tions.

“Tac­ti­cally, I thought we got it wrong.

“I felt I tried to out-foot­ball them in the mid­dle of the park.”

Derby should have been ahead after just eight min­utes when Joe Ma­son fouled Craig Bryson inside the box, but Andy Lon­er­gan guessed cor­rectly to save Martin’s penalty.

The miss ap­peared to give Wan­der­ers some con­fi­dence as both Lee Chung-Yong and a bright Joe Ma­son had shots blocked.

How­ever, Freed­man’s side failed to main­tain their mo­men­tum and were pun­ished when Martin made up for his early miss by pok­ing home Cyrus Christie’s ex­cel­lent cross from close range shortly be­fore half-time. And The Rams started the sec­ond half the brighter and were soon re­warded with their sec­ond of the af­ter­noon.

Owen Gar­van gave the ball away on the edge of the box, and Martin pounced to thrash home his sec­ond of the game.

County didn’t let up, and Jor­don Ibe almost beat Lon­er­gan after 75 min­utes from the left after he’d slipped past his marker, but the keeper was down quickly to push it away.

Bolton of­fered almost noth­ing go­ing for­ward in the sec­ond half, and Johnny Rus­sell might have made it three had he not volleyed over the bar in stop­page time.

Rams boss Steve McClaren was left purring at his team’s per­for­mance after sin­gling out full-back Christie.

“Cyrus has done re­ally well,” said McClaren.

“He was some­one un­known at Coven­try, but he’s come into this team en­vi­ron­ment and taken over from An­dre Wis­dom. He’s stepped into our team and added to it.

“He’s a big threat go­ing for­ward. His de­fend­ing is im­prov­ing and he’s get­ting for­ward and cre­at­ing chances for us.

“We were very pro­fes­sional. We started the game well, should have got the penalty, but con­trolled the game after that.

“Once we got the goal, we kept con­trol, and that was im­por­tant.

“We looked a good team with the ball and looked solid with­out it.That’s what we’ve been work­ing to­wards. It’s the start of a big week and it’s a good start.

“Miss­ing the penalty was a big test for the team,and for Chris per­son­ally.

“We talk about com­ing away from home, deal­ing with the pres­sure and cop­ing with it – we’ve done that.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

SPOT OF RE­LIEF: Chris Martin stretches to score Derby’s sec­ond goal after ear­lier miss­ing a penalty

HAP­PIER: Martin cel­e­brates

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