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Dougie Freedman Gets His Number Two's: Lawrence and Fleming to Arrive at Reebok

It seems that a lot of the contract stalling was due to assistants. Dougie, like many managers, had a rapport and understanding with his current assistants, and wanted to keep that going. However, Bolton already has three beloved assistants...

Freedman + Lawrence: match made in heaven?
Freedman + Lawrence: match made in heaven?
Alex Livesey

It's a bit like moving in with someone, and you both really love your couches. The Bolton trio of Jimmy Phillips, Sammy Lee, and Julian Darby have done well in their short run with the first team, know the club up and down, and deserve respect. But Dougie's assistants at Crystal Palace, Lennie Lawrence and Curtis Fleming, know the boss man well, understand how he works and how he wants his club to work, not to mention the fact that the former is one of the most experienced men in the business.

It is certainly a conundrum. The three musketeers deserve our loyalty and have earned our respect, and it is also true that one of the biggest problems under Coyle was that he brought the skeleton of his backroom with him from Burnley, and by and large it didn't fit at Euxton. Nonetheless, there is certainly something to be said for the experience Lawrence and Fleming bring to the table, both with Freedman in particular and in the game as a whole.

We know that these thoughts have been troubling the Bolton board and Freedman as well, in fact we think that's why it took so long to hammer out the terms of the managerial agreement. Lawrence and Fleming have obviously taken over as interim managers for Crystal Palace, but yesterday Palace co-chairman Steve Paris said,

It's fair to say that is probably what Dougie wan

Its and I think we've got to look at it. I know Lennie is just an unbelievably professional bloke that will do a great job for us, up to the point he goes. It would be a difficult decision but he's become very close to Dougie, they have worked together very closely.

There will be a very grown-up conversation with Lennie about what we are going to do.

Dougie himself hinted that whatever happens, the Bolton boys will be involved in some way,

The club is geared up to getting back into the Premier League. There is an impressive set-up and structure in place, and a first team squad of undoubted quality. I am excited about the challenge ahead of us.

It will be interesting to see how the dust finally settles around the new backroom. Whatever happens, I hope there is a transparency and accountability that was missing in Coyle's backroom. It would be fantastic to see Phillips and co. integrally incorporated, especially after they've proven themselves so competent, but I think it is safe to say they will also stay at the club in some role, even if it does mean dropping down to academy level again.