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Bolton Wanderers FC First Team Staff Profiles

Information on the staff involved with the football club. 

Dougie Freedman

Dougie Freedman was announced as the new Bolton Wanderers manager on October 25, 2012.

The former Scotland international had been in charge of Crystal Palace for 21 months, taking over from George Burley in January 2011, under whom he had previously been assistant. 

In his first managerial role, the Glaswegian initially helped steer the Eagles away from the relegation zone, and then in his first full season in charge enjoyed a memorable run to the League Cup semi-finals, toppling Manchester United at Old Trafford along the way. 

The Selhurst Park club made a promising start to the 2012/13 season, with Freedman collecting the Manager of the Month accolade for September after the Eagles went undefeated throughout the month. 

Freedman began his managerial career at Palace as the reserve team manager in 2007, taking on the role alongside his playing duties, and he would undertake a similar position at Southend United following his move in 2008. 

As a player, Freedman was twice-capped by Scotland, making his debut against Latvia at Hampden Park in October 2001 scoring the equaliser in their 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifier, before making one more appearance in a friendly against France. 

The striker was on the books of QPR as a youngster before he later joined the London club in 1995 scoring 20 times in his opening season, which included an 11 minute hat-trick against Grimsby Town. 

Freedman would play an integral role in Palace’s promotion to the Premier League in 1997 when he scored crucial goals in the 89th and 90th minutes of their Playoff Semi-final tie with Wolves, as the Eagles went on to beat Sheffield United 1-0 in the Wembley Final. 

Following spells at Wolves and Nottingham Forrest, Freedman would return to Selhurst Park in 2000 under manager Alan Smith and scored the vital goal against Stockport County on the final game of the season to ensure the London club avoided relegation and remained in the second tier of English football. 

In all, Freedman would register over 350 appearances during his two spells with Palace scoring 95 goals over the 10 year period. The Scotland striker would also represented Leeds United and Southend United during a 16-year playing career. 

Lennie Lawrence
Assistant Manager

Lennie Lawrence was appointed assistant manager at Bolton Wanderers on 1 November, 2012. 

He had previously been the assistant to Dougie Freedman at Crystal Palace as the duo helped the Eagles avoid relegation in their first season in charge. 

They enjoyed a memorable run to the League Cup semi-finals, toppling Manchester United at Old Trafford along the way, before making a promising start to the 2012 season. 

Lawrence never played league football, but has managed a number of British clubs and is one of a select few managers to have managed over 1,000 games. 

He began his managerial career at Plymouth Argyle in 1978 as caretaker, before working as a coach at Lincoln City helping them win promotion from Division Four in 1981. 

Lawrence took over the reins at Charlton Athletic in 1982, and despite the club being in a poor financial situation, he managed to get the The Addicks promoted to the First Division and kept them at this level for four years. 

Lawrence would move north to manage Middlesbrough in 1991 and guide them to promotion to the Premier League in his second season in charge, but he would leave the club following relegation. 

He would then enjoy spells at Bradford City and Luton Town, before making a return to management at the beginning of the 2000–01 season with Division One side Grimsby Town and orchestrated a League Cup upset by defeating holders Liverpool at Anfield. 

After a short while out of the game, he took over at Division Two side Cardiff City in 2002 in his final managerial role to date, guiding them to promotion in his first full season. 

Lawrence has since enjoyed Director of Football roles at both Bristol Rovers and Hereford United before moving to Selhurst Park in 2011. 

Curtis Fleming
First Team Coach

Curtis Fleming was appointed first team coach at Bolton Wanderers on 7 November, 2012. 

The former Republic of Ireland international worked under Dougie Freedman at Crystal Palace after being promoted to first team coach in July 2012, and he aided in Eagles’ fine start to the 2012/13 Championship season. 

Fleming moved in to coaching after his retirement in 2005, joining Livingston as assistant manager before having a spell coaching at youth level at former club Middlesbrough. He would join Place in 2011 as development coach under the then reserve team boss Freedman. 

A successful playing career which saw the defender capped for Republic of Ireland at both under-21 and international level began in 1987 at St Patrick's Athletic in Ireland. 

Fleming would make over 30 appearances including playing in the European Cup and UEFA Cup on his way to being named the FAI's Under-21 Player of the Year in November 1990. 

The summer of 1991 saw Fleming move to England when he signed for Middlesbrough, initially playing under now Bolton assistant manager Lennie Lawrence. He would appear in the 1997 and 1998 League Cup finals as well as the FA Cup final in 1997, which added to his 266 league appearances in his 10 year stay on Teesside. 

A brief loan spell at Birmingham City in November 2001 was followed by a permanent switch to Palace the following month. During his time at Selhurst Park, Fleming was made club captain by manager Iain Dowie as the defender made 45 league appearances and helped the Eagles gain promotion to the Premier League via the play-offs in 2004. 

After two-and-a-half seasons in London, Curtis moved back to the north east with Darlington before officially retiring in 2005. 

Mark Leather
Head of Sports Performance

Boasting experience in the professional game spanning over 25 years including ten seasons in the Premier League as Head of Sports Medicine for both Liverpool and Sunderland, Leather previously worked with the club under the stewardship of Sam Allardyce before returning back in May 2013.

Alongside his exploits in the top flight of English football, Leather has also plied his trade with a variety of other clubs including Brighton & Hove Albion, Preston North End and Burnley as well as holding the position of Head Physiotherapist for Wigan Warriors.

Having obtained a Master’s degree in Sports Physiology and a teaching qualification, Leather has also worked at Edge Hill University where he led the MSc Football Rehabilitation programme.

Dave Dean
Sports Rehabilitator

Dave Dean is part of the Wanderers' medical team and his role represents quite a career change, as he had previously spent 17 years of his life working in a bank.

Despite coming from a completely different industry, Dean does have sporting connections, playing rugby and volleyball and at one point be was the GB women's volleyball coach. 

He was made redundant from his job at the bank which prompted him to go back to college and studied sports therapy at Thameside College for two years before going on to study in more depth at Salford University. 

Part of the course at Salford included a two month work placement the Reebok and after qualifying he was offered a job in the medical department in 2008. 

Dean’s job involves providing a wide range of massage routines to ensure that everyone at the club remains in peak physical condition. 

The massages are not just for players who have picked up a niggle. On the eve of any away matches for example, Dean will travel with the squad and offer massages to players that helps them sleep, which is all part of the team’s preparation. 

He also has to make sure all the stock of medical equipment we may need is readily available, help set up the treatment room and perform any last minute massages that are needed.

Brian Prestidge
Head Of Performance Analysis

Brian Prestidge heads the Performance Analysis team here at Bolton Wanderers.

Despite never playing the game at a professional level, the video analysis that Prestidge carries out means that he is in a position to offer invaluable advice to current members of the playing squad about future opponents as well as their own strengths and weaknesses. 

Born in Plymouth, Prestidge studied sports analysis and coaching at undergraduate level before taking his masters in Cardiff. 

The development in technology in recent years has meant that the standard and detail of analysis has increased accordingly, with everything possible being done to give the team the best chance of collecting as many points as they can on the pitch. 

Prestidge’s work involves going through footage of future opponents as well as Wanderers matches, with a view to aiding improvement on the pitch every piece of meaningful action is observed and selected using bespoke software, to provide the manager and his staff with the necessary information to pass on to the players on a matchday. 

Working hand in hand with the scouts is another aspect of the Performance Analysis unit's daily routine. With access to such a wealth of footage of opposition players, any tips given to Cliff Roberts and his team are gratefully received.

Chris Short
First Team Fitness Coach

Having been involved in the game both as a player and as a coach, Chris Short joined the club in the summer of 2013 as First Team Fitness Coach.

After enjoying spells with the likes of Notts County, Sheffield United and Stoke City during a 15 year professional career, Short went on to secure a BSc Sports Science Degree from Manchester Metropolitan University alongside a diploma in Sports Massage Therapy.

Since his retirement from the game over a decade ago, Short has been employed as a massage therapist with Blackburn Rovers, Sheffield United and Derby County alongside holding the position of first team fitness coach at Crystal Palace, Leicester City and Leeds United.

Heavily experienced in the field, he also enjoyed a spell as Head of Performance at Brad Friedel’s Soccer Academy in Ohio, USA.

In his everyday role, Short is responsible for the conditioning of the players, including rehabilitating gym and Cryotherapy sessions as well as monitoring body compositions and nutritional requirements and conducting warm-up sessions for all players and individuals.

Alongside his duties for the club, the 42-year-old is due to row the English Channel this summer for charity.

Steve Megson
First Team Head Physiotherapist

Steve Megson joined the medical team at the club back in June 2013 from fellow Championship side Leeds United.

Having originally qualified as a sports scientist in 1998, Megson went on to complete a further degree in sports rehabilitation and an MSc in physiotherapy.

Prior to making the move to the Reebok Stadium, Megson worked full-time with the medical team at Leeds United between 2006 and 2013 as a first team physiotherapist – a role which included assisting with youth development as Head of Sports Science and Medicine for the club’s academy alongside his role with the first team.  

Now fully immersed into life with the Whites, Megson is charged with monitoring and treating the fit and injured players alongside holding the responsibility of injury assessment and rehabilitation, injury prevention, training and match day preparation, medical screening and performance enhancement.

Dan Birdsall
Strength & Conditioning Coach

Having spent six years with Morecambe Football Club as Head of Sports Science prior to joining the club in the summer of 2013, Dan Birdsall boasts a degree in Sport and Exercise Science alongside the FA Applied Football Science and Conditioning award.

Wholly experienced in the field, Birdsall provides sports science advice and feedback to Dougie Freedman and his coaching staff on a daily basis and works closely with the medical department during gym based rehabilitation of injured players.

Providing each player with a tailored recovery plan following matches and training, he also works closely with the medical department during gym based rehabilitation of injured players and structures the general conditioning program for the whole squad focusing on improving strength and power whilst reducing the risk of injury. 

Kristian Aldred
First Team Sports Scientist

After securing a 1st class honours degree in Sport & Exercise Science and an MSc in Sport & Exercise Science Physiology at the University of Central Lancashire in 2011, Kristian Aldred joined the club in the same year as a Sport Science intern.

Originally brought in to support the academy squad, Aldred progressed to work within Wanderers’ development squad set-up before joining the first team backroom staff in the summer of 2013.

Alongside monitoring the daily training load and producing summaries of collected data to ensure that the players are at the peak of fitness, Aldred also administers Cryotheraphy sessions and assists other members of the medical department with gym and field based conditioning sessions.

Matt Fox
Assistant First Team Physiotherpaist

A key member of the club’s backroom staff, Matt Fox boasts a plethora of experience.

After qualifying as a physiotherapist in 2001 with a degree in Sports Science, Fox later completed a conversion degree to Physiotherapy and graduated from Teesside University in 2004.

Alongside his studies, he spent three years working for the NHS and four with Manchester City’s academy before joining the club as Head Academy Physiotherapist in 2008.

Now a part of the first team set-up at the Reebok Stadium, Fox’s role requires him to assist with the rehabilitation of injured players alongside the preparation of players for training and matches.

Outside of the game, he is currently working towards an MSc in Manual Therapy at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Alan Watmough
Soft Tissue Therapist

Now in his second full season as a member of the club’s medical department following eight years with Preston North End, Alan Watmough works full time with the first team squad with his role requiring him to administer both pre and post training treatments of all players.

Working under the supervision of Head Physiotherapist Steve Megson, Watmough helps to form part of the rehabilitation treatment of injured players as and when required and provides soft tissue work on matchdays alongside assisting in setting up medical and nutritional equipment.

Outside of his role with the club, he also works in a well-established chiropractic clinic.