Ever since Dougie Freedman took over at Bolton Wanderers and took the Trotters on their late-season surge, we have seen the praise for him (almost) unanimously increase. Among the fans, the praise reached a point where they had wished that Freedman had taken over earlier and how things might have been so different.
A few of the players had echoed such sentiments but now Sam Ricketts has taken it a step further by saying that he wishes Wanderers had a full pre-season under the manager.
In an interview with the Bolton News, Ricketts elaborated:
"It's an anti-climax because we had given ourselves the opportunity and came from nowhere. You can see the way the gaffer wants to play, with and against the ball, and I think it has given us more of an identity.
"We were saying in the dressing room after the game, and I know it's easy to say, but if the gaffer had come in earlier then it might have been a different story. When the dust settles and you start looking at the positives, the fact that we have got a little longer to work with the gaffer now, you would think he could improve us even more.
"We're certainly capable of getting better and as an individual I always look to improve myself. If I can get a couple of per cent better then that makes the team better, and that is the way the gaffer works.
"The most important thing is the team and we need people pushing each other to become better."
Of course, Ricketts' praise for Dougie Freedman's methods isn't new. Back in mid-March, just about a month after Bolton began the run that would see them reach sixth place before dropping out of the play-offs on goal difference, the fullback described the changes in training under the new manager:
"There's different types of training, physically we train hard at times for fitness, but also tactically, and you can see we're much more aware now as a side.
"The way we defend, the way we attack, we have game plans for each individual game. That's what the manager brought into the club."
It really makes you wonder what was going on at the club before Dougie's arrival.