The strike partnership of Dougie Freedman and Jermaine Beckford at Leeds United

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With the recent news that Bolton Wanderers had agreed a fee with Leicester City for the potential transfer of Jermaine Beckford, opinions from the fanbase have been varied, to say the least. Some are taking purely statistical looks at the situation while others are pinning their hopes solely on Dougie Freedman's judgement. Unlike most scouting reports, though, the Bolton manager will have had a better look at his potential signing than most, having played alongside him at Leeds United.

The year was 2008 and then-33-year-old veteran striker Dougie Freedman was coming to the end of his long tenure and second stint at Crystal Palace. Under Neil Warnock at Palace, Freedman found his chances limited at best with the performances of Clinton Morrison (16 goals in 43 league appearances) keeping Dougie on the bench. In order to get more playing time, Dougie Freedman joined Leeds United on 6 March, 2008, for the rest of that season. The year, on the whole, was a tough one for Dougie as he had managed only 19 appearances at Crystal Palace with one goal to show for it.

At Leeds, Dougie was handed his debut nearly straight away. Two days after signing, Leeds welcomed Bournemouth to Elland Road and manager Gary McAllister saw fit to insert Freedman into the proceedings. Dougie came on as a substitute for Neil Kilkenny in the 69th minute, who had scored eight minutes earlier to give United a 2-0 advantage at home. Jermaine Beckford, who was on his way to 20 league goals in 40 appearances that season, did not score.

Three days later, Leeds welcomed Cheltenham Town to Elland Road. Dougie was once again a substitute, entering the match on 61 minutes for Jonny Howson. Neither Dougie nor Beckford managed a goal in that one and United would go on to lose 1-2 at home.

On the 15th of March, Leeds United travelled to Port Vale in what would end up a wild affair. Dougie Freedman was handed his first start in a Leeds shirt and made it count. Freedman scored his first Leeds goal on the 40 minute mark to hand his side a 2-0 lead just a minute after Rui Marques broke the deadlock. After Port Vale tied it up at two apiece, Dougie handed his side the lead once more on 86 minutes, heading home to make it 3-2. Port Vale would equalize at the death and the match would end 3-3.

It was a return to winning ways for Leeds the following week when they took on Walsall at home. With Dougie bagging a brace in the previous match, it was Jermaine Beckford's turn to shine and shine he did. Beckford scored twice, once on the half hour mark and one on 80 minutes to give his team a comfortable win at home.

It was a 0-0 draw at home to Brighton the following week with both Dougie and Beckford starting the match. A few days after that, Leeds would return to winning ways once more, beating Doncaster away. The next match would see United win their second in a row, beating Leyton Orient away with Jermaine Beckford scoring the second goal in that match.

In the pair's final league match together, Leeds United beat Carlisle United 3-2 at Elland road and it was Dougie Freedman on display once more. With Beckford starting alongside him, Freedman scored twice, including the game winner.

In eight league matches together, the attacking pair of Dougie Freedman and Jermaine Beckford scored seven goals with four coming from the now-Bolton Wanderers manager. Their league run together ended prematurely as an injury would end Beckford's season with four matches to go. In those four remaining outings, Dougie would add one more goal to his total.

The pair would once again join forces in the League One play-off, after Leeds finished the season in fifth place. In the semi-final, they lost at home to Carlisle United, 1-2, with Dougie scoring Leeds' only goal in that match. In the away leg, Leeds would win 2-0, advancing on aggregate with Jonny Howson providing both goals. In the final, both Dougie and Beckford started the match but Leeds were held scoreless by Doncaster Rovers, losing 1-0 and postponing their promotion to the Championship by a few years.


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