Jermaine Beckford is back in business at Bolton Wanderers

Jermaine Beckford's return has delighted his manager

Jermaine Beckford's return has delighted his manager

First published in Sport The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , chief football writer

JERMAINE Beckford may have played himself into a first-team recall despite enduring a frustrating time in front of goal against Blackpool.

The livewire striker changed the game in Wanderers’ favour on Tuesday night, putting the visitors on the back foot after his arrival from the bench in the 68th minute.

Beckford had not played at the Reebok since limping out of the game against Nottingham Forest in mid-January with a hamstring problem and suffered several setbacks in his attempt to regain full fitness.

And while he missed two gilt-edged opportunities to add to his eight goals this season and make the 1-0 scoreline look more comfortable, Freedman was delighted with the 30-year-old’s return.

“It’s a great problem, a great luxury to have Jermaine coming back and I did wait that extra two weeks to get him as sharp as he is,” he said. “I don’t think he looked as if he’s been gone for two or three months. That was a lot of hard work.

“It’s good to have rotation in your strikers and the turning point for us was the introduction of Jermaine because it stretched Blackpool. It made them play deeper and then Andre Moritz came on to do what he does best and get hold of that ball.”

While Wanderers were left to rue missed chances against both Brighton and Yeovil, the fact they led the game through David Wheater’s first-half header on Tuesday added an element of control in the second half.

The scoreline could have looked more flattering in the end but Freedman was content with the way his team killed Barry Ferguson’s side off.

“I’m not concerned because there are players out there who are very capable of finishing them off – Jermaine Beckford and Andre (Moritz), and on another day we would have done,” he said.

“We had to change the shape quickly because I felt the game was running away from us a bit. We sat in and made it a bit difficult, relying on the counter attack, and it worked.”

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