DOUGIE Freedman leapt to the defence of cup saviour Jermaine Beckford, insisting he doesn’t deserve the stick he gets from some Wanderers fans.

After watching the former Leicester City and Everton striker produce two superb finishes to put an end to plucky Crewe’s resistance in the Captial One Cup in midweek, the Whites boss admits he is mystified by the stick his star striker has received.

Beckford, pictured, topped the club’s goal charts with nine last season but has found himself on the bench in each of the first four Championship games as Craig Davies and Joe Mason edged ahead of him in the pecking order.

Freedman – who signed the 30-year-old last summer – says Beckford has a “big part to play” as Wanderers head to his former club Leeds United this weekend looking to kick-start their own season.

But the Scot is puzzled that fans have not taken to Beckford as readily as he would have hoped in his 12 months at the club.

“It sometimes really baffles me when you get certain sections of the crowd doubting Jermaine’s ability,” he said. “He’s an out and out goal-scorer.

“Jermaine has got 90 minutes to score a goal. He has got a manager who believes in him – he has his right moments and his right games and he spreads that infectious attitude around the place that keeps everyone going.”

After going behind early on at Crewe, Darren Pratley got his side back into the game with his first goal for the Whites in more than 12 months.

Beckford thought he had won the tie with a goal three minutes into stoppage time only for Alex substitute Marcus Haber to head home an equaliser right at the death.

Extra time saw Beckford seal a place in the third round with an excellent finish from Chung-Yong Lee’s intelligent pass, leaving Freedman pleased to have avoided a proverbial banana skin.

“It was a very difficult start for us in the first 15-20 minutes,” he said. “But I felt through the energy, the commitment and the attitude we showed, we got our way back into it.

“We made sure in the second half that we were well on top and created a couple of good chances.

“Going into extra time I thought the game was definitely in our control.”