WANDERERS are staring at a striker crisis with the news that Jermaine Beckford could be out for longer than expected.
It is understood Dougie Freedman could be without his first-choice front man for at least two more games, and possibly for as long as a month with his hamstring injury.
And coupled with the fact the club are losing their grip on top transfer target Danny Graham, the Whites boss finds himself seriously short of options ahead of this weekend’s FA Cup fourth round tie at home to Cardiff City.
Beckford will definitely miss Saturday’s game and the trip to face QPR a few days later.
It had been hoped a deal to bring Graham in on loan would be tied up by the weekend but as The Bolton News went to press it appeared the chances of Freedman landing the 28-year-old were becoming increasingly remote.
Nottingham Forest remain in pole position to take the Tynesider on loan for the rest of the season – but their efforts are being slowed by the fact they are also trying to secure an option to sign him permanently next summer.
Billy Davies is prepared to push the boat out to sign a player with an enviable goal record at this level, and that appears to have driven the price of a loan up beyond the Whites’ reach.
Should Wanderers manage to offload David Ngog to either Premier League Swansea City or French club Evian, there could be scope to up their offer but even were that to happen, the chances of a permanent deal are remote.
The club have not given up completely on a loan deal for Graham but Freedman may now be forced to investigate alternative targets. Beckford’s unavailability makes Ngog one of only two fit out-and-out senior strikers at the Reebok right now.
Craig Davies is Freedman’s other available option in the camp but the Wales international is chronically short of match sharpness and has not started a game since August.
Marvin Sordell remains out on loan at Charlton Athletic and recalling the former England Under-21 man remains an option that Wanderers have until the end of the month, although he would now be ineligible for the Cardiff game after making his comeback from a hamstring injury in the Addicks’ FA Cup victory over Oxford United on Tuesday night.
Meanwhile, Andre Moritz is facing a battle to prove his fitness for the cup game after coming through light training duties this week.
The Brazilian was suffered a swollen knee after landing awkwardly in the draw against Nottingham Forest but is showing encouraging signs that he will be able to feature.