JERMAINE Beckford insists he can come back fitter, faster and stronger next season for Wanderers.
After undergoing a disjointed pre-season as his summer move from Leicester City was completed, Beckford admits he has never quite felt on top of his game.
A niggling hamstring injury saw him ruled out for two months at the start of the year but nevertheless, he still leads the club’s scoring charts with nine goals heading into the final game of the season.
Beckford, whose pace proved a key weapon against Sheffield Wednesday, is already looking forward to starting again.
“As much as players hate pre-season, because you know it is going to be hard, it is something everyone needs as a base,” he said.
“I definitely need it and I was unfortunate not to start the pre-season with all the boys. I came in but I was floating about but not where I wanted to be because the paperwork hadn’t been sorted.
“Once I get a pre-season behind me I know I am going to be as quick and strong as I can be and as positive minded as I can be to start the season off on a high.”
Beckford’s best form came just prior to the New Year, when he netted seven times in 13 games.
The timing of his hamstring problem was a frustration to the former Everton man – but he was quick to point out that every cloud has a silver lining.
“I was doing alright before I got injured,” he said. “You try and do everything possible to stay fit and as strong as possible in the way you look after yourself. Sometimes things happen for a reason.
“If I hadn’t got injured then Lukas Jutkiewicz and Joe Mason come in and shown what they have been capable of. Who is to say we would have finished where we are without them?
Beckford is now eager to see how Dougie Freedman will re-shape his squad this summer, with the striker feeling change is inevitable.
“As a squad we have built up special relationships, friendships and understandings, especially the way we play on the field,” he said.
“It’s always a shame when the season ends because you know one or two players might leave. You are always looking to improve as a squad and I am sure the manager has ideas and players he would like to bring in to improve the squad.
“I would like to see the majority of the players, if not all the players, stay. But I am a realist and I know that is not going to happen.”
Victory over Sheffield Wednesday extended an unbeaten run on the road to eight games and Beckford believes the omens are good for a better start next season.
“It’s eight games unbeaten away from home now,” he said. “It’s down to the players the manager has picked and the tactics and the formation the manager has gone with. They have been spot on every single game.
“Unfortunately it didn’t start earlier in the season but hopefully we will be able to take the momentum we have built up into the next game and into next season.”