Bolton Wanderers are hoping striker Jermaine Beckford can return for Bournemouth game
WANDERERS are praying Jermaine Beckford will prove his fitness before Saturday’s clash with Bournemouth.
The Whites’ top scorer has been missing since limping out of the 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest on January 11 with a hamstring problem.
Sources inside the club rate Beckford’s chances as 50-50 of making the game – but with striker options so thin on the ground after Craig Davies’s move to Preston, Dougie Freedman is likely to give his summer signing every chance to take part.
Beckford has hit seven goals in his last 14 appearances for Wanderers and it is hoped his style will enable him to forge a partnership with loanee Lukas Jutkiewicz to fire the club clear of the bottom three.
His hamstring issue has proved more difficult to solve than was initially expected, however, and should he fail to make Saturday’s squad, it would leave Freedman with only one senior front man – Jutkiewicz – to pick from.
Some would suggest that is a problem of his own making, with Davies’s departure to Deepdale having gone down badly with fans.
And their frustration was heightened at the weekend as the former Barnsley man scored on his debut, as did other loan strikers Marvin Sordell and Tom Eaves.
Another player on the comeback trail is midfielder Stuart Holden, who hinted in the American press at the weekend he could be ready to play in the development squad by the end of the month.
Freedman admires his positivity but is playing down Holden’s comeback for now after such a long spell on the sidelines.
“If that's coming from Stuart that's typical of Stuart,” he said. “I like it, that he's always like that - pushing to get there. But we've got to really respect what the doctors say on this one and I'm not a doctor so I couldn't say if it's 'yes' or 'no'.
“All I know is he's back (in the US) for 10 days then he's got two weeks of rehab and if you work that out. I doubt that (he will be playing for the reserves in February).”
Holden has trained in the US national team camp and has spoken with Jurgen Klinsmann about his rehabilitation efforts, with the view to this summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil.
“Stuart's been over there for 10 days to see where he's at,” Freedman added. “Not in terms of physical condition, the condition of his knee. To see if he can withstand certain exercises. “He also met the national manager and see where he's at with getting back into that. When he comes back (to Bolton) we'll assess him over two weeks for his physical condition.”