CONFIDENCE is not a commodity that Jermaine Beckford lacks, so he hasn’t taken Wanderers’ much-publicised search for a goal-scorer to heart.

The man signed from Leicester City 12 months ago as a potential solution to Dougie Freedman’s shot-shy attack topped the club’s scoring charts with nine goals last season.

But there remain many on the terraces at the Macron Stadium who are still to be convinced he can anchor the Whites attack and lead them back into the big time.

In a moment of introspection, even Beckford – whose self-belief borders on the cartoonish at times – admits he has something to prove at Wanderers.

Yet anyone waiting for him to embark on a detailed breakdown on why he didn’t quite fire on all cylinders last season will be disappointed. His message was short and to the point.

“I always feel like I have a point to prove to people, nothing changes,” he told The Bolton News. “Every game feels like my first one. It’s the cup final.

“I want to end up as top goal-scorer. I have no problem saying that. It’s true.

“I have confidence in my ability and I’m happy to back myself.”

Fitness seemed to be the main hindrance in Beckford’s first year in the North West, restricting him to just 19 starts in all competitions.

A hamstring problem kept him out between January and April, giving room for loanees Lukas Jutkiewicz and Joe Mason to grow, and relegating him down the pecking order a little by the time of his return.

If that spell dented his confidence, he isn’t showing it – and Beckford is not giving a moment’s thought to the hamstring problems that have checked his Bolton career to date.

“I believe in the law of attraction,” he said. “If you think or worry about getting injured then the likelihood is that it will happen.

“I do everything I can to make sure I stay fit and focused then let my ability do the rest.”

The man who scored goals for fun at Leeds United and maintained a healthy scoring record in the Premier League for Everton and in the Championship for Leicester showed a little of the old magic against Port Vale in midweek, lashing in the winning goal from 30 yards.

Freedman believes his former team-mate is “looking sharp” and it looks likely on current evidence that Beckford will get a starting place at Watford on August 9.

Goals like the one at Vale Park won’t hinder his chances.

“I hope to God someone was filming it, I can’t remember half of what happened,” Beckford later admitted.

“I’ve said it a thousand times it’s nice to score goals. With it being pre-season you want to get as much as you can from the game. I caught it pretty sweet and it’s a good feeling.

“This has been a tough summer for all of us. We’ve had that many games that it might have disguised the fact that we’ve been working very hard behind the scenes too.

“I think the boys are ahead of schedule in terms of fitness. We still have a couple of fine details to sharpen up but we’ve all been given enough games to put ourselves in the frame.

“That’s what it’s all about for me. That’s when the business starts.

“And I’m very confident in the squad, the manager, the tactics, everything we’ve been working hard on. I’m excited about the new season.”

At 29, Beckford is one of the squad’s elder statesmen these days, not that he likes to be reminded. And his role in the camp is not to be underestimated – that bubbly, upbeat character came in handy during some of the more frustrating spells of last season.

He is also acting as a mentor to some of the younger Wanderers players, not least flavour-of-the-month Conor Wilkinson, whose goals in pre-season have pushed him to the very edge of first team contention.

“He’s a brilliant player as long as he keeps on listening, watching and learning,” Beckford advised.

“He has got everything it will take. Sometimes as a younger player you have to listen to what the older experienced players or the manager is telling you then make sure you showcase what you can do when you get the chance.

“We know what he’s capable of and it’s exciting to see him come on. It’s just about getting that level of consistency and Conor knowing that men’s football is a very different thing to the reserves or Under-18s.

“We’re all looking forward to seeing how he gets on.”

Beckford’s words of warning come from experience. Rejected as a youngster at Chelsea, he admits his career path could have followed a very different route.

In the end, his golden spell at Leeds came via a spell in non league football with Wealdstone.

“When I first started I didn’t listen,” he admitted. “I wanted to play my game, had confidence in my ability and blocked it out.

“If I had the chance to rewind I’d change a few things. I’d listen.

“You live, you learn, and that’s where you get your experience from.”