Alex Baptiste backs Bolton Wanderers front trio to be a hit
ALEX Baptiste has hailed Wanderers’ strikers as unsung heroes and backed them to come out firing when Dougie Freedman’s side get back to action against Sheffield Wednesday this weekend.
The Whites defender believes Jermaine Beckford, Craig Davies and David Ngog are on the verge of getting the goals their play deserves.
And he says Championship defenders rate the trio among the best in the division.
Defender Baptiste is bizarrely Wanderers’ top scorer with three goals – equalling his career best total for a season.
But the 27-year-old believes he will soon be overtaken.
Fellow summer signing Beckford broke his Championship duck for Wanderers in the first win of the season at Birmingham City before the international break.
With Davies and Ngog also in the ranks as the senior strikers, the full-back is confident the goals will start to flow.
“Becks was different class (at Birmingham),” said Baptiste, who started off as a striker in junior football growing up in Nottinghamshire.
“He took his goal really well. But it wasn’t just that which stands out for me, his workrate was just amazing.
“When Craig (Davies) came on he was massive for us as well and took so much pressure off us.
“I know that fans tend to look at strikers and just add up how many goals they have scored, but playing with them the workrate is just as important.
“We’re lucky we have got three out-and-out strikers who really put a shift in, and that can only be beneficial for the club.”
Baptiste says the style of play adopted in certain games by boss Dougie Freedman, with just one leading striker, means the forward line have to put in that level of commitment on a regular basis.
And as a defender, he says he would not want to be up against the likes of Beckford, Davies and Ngog.
“We normally go into games with just the one striker and it is a very tough job for them,” he said.
“They are pretty much handling the whole back four up there on their own, four against one.
“That’s why the workrate is important. They might not get as many goals being the lone striker, and looking for support all the time, but you ask any defender in this league and they’ll say that our strikeforce is right up there with the very best of them.”
The former Blackpool man may be above the forwards on goals scored so far but is not considering a return to a more forward role anytime soon.
He netted at Blackburn Rovers and in home draws against Derby County and Yeovil Town but his main aim remains keeping clean sheets at the other end.
He said: “This is the most I have scored in a season already and it’s totally surprised me.
“All I really want to do is my best for the team and we got a great win at Birmingham.
“Hopefully, I don’t have to score too many more and we can start keeping a few clean sheets.”