Dougie Freedman puts pressure on Bolton Wanderers strikers to deliver
DOUGIE Freedman admits concern over Wanderers’ strike conversion rate could see a shake-up of his strikeforce for Saturday’s home clash with Doncaster.
The Whites drew a blank for the second successive match against Huddersfield on Tuesday to lose 1-0 for the second time in four days. They have only scored 21 goals in 20 matches in league and cup this season and of the nine that have come from orthodox strikers, Jermaine Beckford has got six.
Even his run has come to an abrupt end with a late penalty miss at Middlesbrough last weekend and another wasted opportunity near the end of Tuesday’s defeat.
And Freedman, who has added Cardiff front man Joe Mason to his attacking ranks, says a change may be needed to end the profligacy in front of goal.
Last season, after the Scot took the reins in October, Wanderers scored 55 goals in 36 matches, 22 coming from their attackers.
But by the end of the season, the top-scoring forward was David Ngog with just eight goals.
The Whites boss said: “If you don’t take chances, you will not win games.
“I am not going to have a big inquiry after Tuesday but if you look at our goalscoring record since I have been here, that’s why I signed Jermaine Beckford.
“I know he brings goals to the team.
“He has done his bit in the last seven or eight games but maybe looked a bit tired on Tuesday.
“We need somebody else to step up to the plate and that is why Joe Mason has come in.
“If you look at the goals scored by centre-forwards, that’s where we need to be better.
“Any team that is up at the top end will have at least one of their strikers into double figures already. It’s no surprise everybody is looking for that kind of striker.
“That is the key that is just missing for us.”
It is not just through the middle where Freedman wants more going forward, he is also looking to his midfield to support the frontline.
He drafted in young winger Rob Hall and Andre Moritz on Tuesday and while both were bright, they faded along with the rest of the team in a sluggish second half.
Freedman is remaining patient with Hall but says there may be changes to freshen things up at the weekend.
He added: “Young Robert did okay coming in – he just needs to understand we have to see that performance for 90 minutes.
“I saw enough from him again to show he is coming on.
“What happens with young players is that you need to show patience if they do it for 65-70 minutes.
“In two or three years time, he will be doing it over 90 minutes.
“He is not there in terms of his strength and physique right now.
“But you can see he is intelligent and has a quality in his left foot.
“I felt he did all right but we need the intensity for the whole 90 minutes.
“Andre can be better than he showed overall, but he needs game time.
“One or two players looked tired out there.
“The last seven or eight games appears to have taken their toll.
“I’m looking for one or two fresh faces and a good reaction.”