Manager praises positive start

Dougie Freedman offers his thoughts following Wanderers' 1-0 victory over Blackpool at the Reebok Stadium

Dougie Freedman believes his side’s positive start to Tuesday’s Lancashire derby with Blackpool proved crucial in the final outcome of the clash.

David Wheater’s 16th minute header was ultimately the difference on a bitterly cold evening at the Reebok Stadium, with the Seasiders unable to break down a resolute Wanderers defence during the remainder of the match.

The Whites’ third victory in four outings on home soil, the manager praised his players for their determination in what was a tight encounter from start to finish.

“I’m very happy with that result,” he explained. “I said to the team before the game that particularly with derbies, the first 25 minutes are always crucial and it’s imperative that you start well.

“Throughout the opening stages, I felt we were the better team. We were confident and calm on the ball and we managed to get that all important goal, but after that I felt that Blackpool came into the game.

“I don’t think Adam Bogdan had too many saves to make, but they did take up possession a lot better. To counteract that we changed our shape slightly. In the end though, I felt like we deserved the victory overall.”

A match which saw David Wheater notch his first goal for the club in two years, with his last strike ironically coming in another derby clash against Blackburn Rovers in March 2012, Freedman paid tribute to the defender for his efforts during the game.

“David Wheater did very well – he tends to pose a problem for opponents with set pieces. On this occasion, his direction was better than it has been previously and obviously it went into the back of the net.

“We should be taking more advantage of his aerial power, especially now he’s back fully fit. It was a difficult decision to pull him out of the squad earlier in the season, but I believe now that he is capable of playing at a level that is suited to the Championship.”

He continued: “Over the course of the last dozen games, we’ve done very well and our performances have been good. We just need to find that consistency so that we can carry on moving up the table.

“Earlier in the season, we would have drawn that game, so that’s testament to the players.

“There’s a lot to play for in the club, so we just need to make sure that standards are high and we’ll be looking to finish the season as strongly as possible.”
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