Football: Freedman stakes claim

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The Independent Online
DOUGIE FREEDMAN believes he can form a powerful strike partnership with Pierre van Hooijdonk for Nottingham Forest.

Freedman scored his first home Premiership goal, and second in the top flight, during his side's thrilling 2-2 draw with Derby on Monday.

Freedman has been in and out of the Forest team since joining from Wolves for pounds 900,000 at the start of the season but now believes he has proved he deserves a regular run in the side.

"That was only my fourth game in the Premiership from the start and I've got to be happy with my two goals so far," he said.

"My goal record for Nottingham Forest is good. If I was always in the team and not scoring then there would be a problem. All I can do is put in good performances, score goals and then it's up to 'Harry' [the Forest manager, Dave Bassett] whether he picks me or not. I hadn't played with Pierre before but he's a quality player and he's good to play with."

Forest's display against Derby was one of their best so far this season, but it was still not enough to guarantee them all three points.

Even so, the former Crystal Palace striker is confident they will turn the corner soon and said: "It was a great performance. We're pleased with that even though we didn't get the win.

"We were unlucky but if we play like that every week then there should be no problem in us staying in the Premiership.

"It's a bit disappointing that we didn't win but we got a point and it's something to build on."

Bassett was full of praise for the striker, who has now scored five goals in all competitions for Forest.

"I was delighted for Dougie because he's taken some stick. He followed up his initial shot well," said the manager.

Freedman showed a real predator's instinct with his strike against Derby, collecting a rebound in the penalty area and then firing the ball home after seeing his initial shot parried by the Derby goalkeeper, Russell Hoult.

"It was a good striker's goal," Freedman said. "You've got to be in there to score goals like that and I like scoring good striker's goals."

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