American Exports: Tim Ream still valued at Bolton, says Wanderers boss

Tim Ream may not be dressing for Bolton Wanderers these days, but that does not mean he has no future with the club.

Bolton manager Dougie Freedman gave Ream a vote of confidence over the weekend, saying that although the American center back has not played in a league game since early February, he is close to getting back into the team's starting lineup.

“Tim’s a fantastic fella and he’s been really unlucky, as have one or two others, because of the form of certain individuals,” Freedman told The Bolton News. "He’s always [around] and about the squad, trains fantastically well and he’s definitely got a future. If we decided to go three at the back – and I’m not talking this Saturday necessarily – then he’s got as good a shot as anyone.

“He hasn’t been on the bench but that is only because of the position he plays. I'm not going to name two defenders because I'd rather have more attacking options. With them, we can always win a game."

Ream, who has made 14 appearances this season, last played for the Trotters in a 2-1 loss to Watford on Feb. 2 and has not dressed since a 2-1 victory over Burnley on Feb. 9. Still, Freedman has no qualms of throwing Ream back into the fire if necessary.

“The fantastic thing about Tim is that he’s an all-round good footballer,” said Freedman. “He can play left back, center back, center midfield and that’s why it’s easy to say that he has got a future here. The key to him is that he’s training very hard and I know if I called on him this weekend that he’d be ready to step straight into the team, just as he did six or eight games ago.

“That’s what you need at this stage of the season. Managers need to see a good professional who trains really hard and is ready to be called upon.”

Bolton are currently in eighth place in the Championship, just five points shy of the final promotion playoff spot.