Date: 1st August 2007 at 11:56am
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Leeds United boss Dennis Wise has hailed Jermaine Beckford after the striker fired the club to a 1-0 pre-season victory against Darlington last night.

Wise hopes the 23-year-old will be able to do what the more experienced strikers didn’t managed last season – namely put the ball into the net on a regular basis. Wise also added that he sent Beckford out on loan last season because he felt it would be unfair to thrust him into the dire situation the club were in.

Wise told the club’s official site: “Jermaine is a fantastic talent. A lot of people have just noticed him, and whether that’s good or bad I don’t know. He’s part of my club, part of my plans, and I hope he’s going to get me some goals this year.

“I said ‘this year would be your chance’. He needs a chance and he deserves a chance. I loaned him last year. I didn’t think it was fair to stick him in, in the situation we were in. There were experienced players who I felt had to prove themselves and get us out of trouble. There were some big names who didn’t produce last year.”

Last night’s goal was Beckford’s first for the club, and was the result of a skilful pass from Jonny Howson and a clever finish. Leeds could have won by a far larger margin in front of the 3,270 fans at Darlington last night, but a lack of fortune and good last-gasp defending kept the scoreline respectable for the hosts.

A fruitful season for Beckford – and he showed while on loan at Scunthorpe last season that he knows how to find the net – should translate into a good season for Leeds. And given nearly half of the crowd last night were cheering on the men in White, the hope is clearly still there.

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