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Three defenders at the back an option for Dougie

Michael Steele

In terms of having fit players to pick from, Bolton Wanderers and Dougie Freedman are a bit spoiled for choice of late. The number of first team players that are currently on the bench is minimal in that only Matt Mills and Keith Andrews are the two not available for choice at the moment. This has led to a bit of a selection dilemma for the Bolton Wanderers manager and where the choices once laid in midfield, they have no moved to the back.

With Zat Knight and Craig Dawson playing well together and David Wheater, arguably Bolton's strongest defender (that the club owns), there are certainly a number of options to pick from. At the tail end of the weekend's win against Hull City, David Wheater came on as a substitute for Mark Davies. The change happened in the 87th minute and allowed Wheater to get three minutes and stoppage time.

That substitution saw Bolton play with Zat Knight, Craig Dawson, and David Wheater across the back with Sam Ricketts and Marcos Alonso pushed up a little bit, playing as wing backs in a position that Bolton Wanderers have rarely seen. Speaking in his pre-Peterborough press conference, Dougie Freedman said it's certainly something to consider:

"We had David Wheater who we gave a little bit of time to. We had three at the back which is something I'm going to be looking at very soon with the amount of defenders we've got."

Dougie would also add a little bit later in the press conference:

"I've certainly looked at what we've got and we're top-heavy in the center halves. I've always said there's an imbalance in the recruitment and there certainly has been that.

"Now what I've got to do is bring up the best possible shape for the team in terms of the players I think can have an influence on the result. With three center halves in David Wheater, Matt Mils, and Tim Ream we've really got strong there, you know.

"We're going to play because I've probably got three center halves. I think you've got the bigger coaching idea of just playing your normal 4-4-2 that seems to be renowned in English teams over the last 20 years. I think you've got to look out the box and understand that the game is moving on and you've got to be tactically aware of how you change things."

Three at the back with wing backs, a 3-5-2 or "Christmas tree" formation, is a very interesting proposition for Bolton Wanderers. On top of playing the team's best possible defenders, it could also work towards the strengths of Tyrone Mears and Marcos Alonso, two players that are very happy to get forward.