Prior to Owen Coyle's sacking, there were murmurs about how lax training sessions at Bolton were. Drills were apparently few and far between and training sessions were little more than a kick-around with the lads. Table tennis was very much on the agenda while tactics were not. In a pair of articles from the Bolton News today, we're seeing just how big the difference is between Dougie Freedman's and Owen Coyle's regimes.
The first bit of insight comes from a short interview with defender Sam Ricketts. Discussing what day-to-day life is like now at Bolton Wanderers, Ricketts said:
"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.
More than anything, that begs the question of "what the hell were they doing before?"
Then, there's the even more interesting bit about sports science and sports medicine. Dougie Freedman took time to discuss the effects of the aforementioned practices on his squad, specifically citing the injury of Matt Mills. The defender has been out for absolute ages with a hamstring injury.
"What we feel with Matt is that he needs to change his whole attitude to training.
"He's doing things he's never done before, in the gym and in his pattern movements.
"At the moment he's feeling a little bit stiff and not moving as well as he could be.
"But he is still training away, and looking good in fact, and he's played in the reserves. So he's just waiting for his chance now.
"When he was injured he wasn't responding to some of the normal guys' training. A hamstring that should have taken three to six weeks to heal was taking eight to 10 weeks for him. And we couldn't quite work that out.
"We figured out that his movement patterns were not quite what they should be. He needed to have quicker feet, and so on, so he has been away to work on that.
"He has found a bit of muscular soreness because of that, which has kept him out, but in the last few weeks he's trained well and he's raring to go. He's just waiting for an opportunity."
Go on, Dougie.