Bolton V Cardiff at Reebok Stadium - Match Preview

No new problems for Freedman's Reebok bow

Dougie Freedman heads into his first game as Bolton manager against npower Championship leaders Cardiff with a squad showing no new injury concerns.

With the exceptions of goalkeeper Andy Lonergan, defender David Wheater, midfielder Stuart Holden and young forward Josh Vela - all of whom are suffering from serious knee problems - the Trotters boast a clean bill of health.

The weekend marks the start of a tough baptism for Freedman and assistant Lennie Lawrence following their moves from Crystal Palace to succeed Owen Coyle, with second-placed Leicester next on the agenda at the Reebok Stadium.

"There's a quite simple way of putting this - I would rather play the big guns because we know where we are," Freedman said.

"We will be playing against Cardiff and Leicester at the top of the league, so I will then know after those two games where we are.

"Let's hope we win the two games and I'll think to myself we're not too far away. We might lose the two games, then I'll know how far away we are and I'll address it. It's something I'm really looking forward to."

Cardiff have no fresh injury worries for the game.

Attackers Tommy Smith and Craig Bellamy remain on the sidelines with hamstring and ankle injuries respectively and will be out for two or three weeks, while Matt Connolly looks set to continue at right-back instead of Kevin McNaughton.

Fulham loanee Kerim Frei joined on the eve of the 4-0 victory over Burnley as cover for Bellamy and Smith and the 19-year-old winger is likely to be on the bench again at the Reebok after Craig Noone's eye-catching display on Saturday.

Experienced midfielder Stephen McPhail stepped up his comeback from injury by starting for the Bluebirds' development squad on Tuesday and he hopes to be back in contention soon.

Former Cardiff boss Lawrence, who managed the club between 2002 and 2005, was appointed assistant manager at Bolton on Thursday.

Source: PA

Source: PA