The Football League Paper - - INSIDE - By Luke Mur­ray

JOHN Bray­ford’s sea­so­nend­ing ham­string in­jury was a set-back, but Derby boss Nigel Clough says the up­side is that it has given young full-back Kieron Free­man the op­por­tu­nity to show what he can do.

The 21-year-old has this week signed a three-year con­tract which will keep him at the Pride Park un­til 2016.

Af­ter join­ing from East Mid­lands ri­vals Not­ting­ham For­est in the sum­mer, Free­man had to wait pa­tiently for a chance in the first team – and did not make his de­but un­til Novem­ber.

But since Bray­ford’s in­jury in early March, Clough says he has more than staked his claim for a reg­u­lar place in the team.

“Kieron is a player we have an aw­ful lot of faith in and we think he’s go­ing to be a very good player in the fu­ture,” said Clough.

“He’s got all the right at­tributes to be an ex­tremely good de­fender and he has got a good op­por­tu­nity at the moment to build his Cham­pi­onship ex­pe­ri­ence, with John Bray­ford out in­jured.

“We’ve been pleased with his progress over the last few months.

“He has had to wait pa­tiently for his chance but his at­ti­tude has been ex­cel­lent from the minute he walked through the door.”

PROM­ISE: Kieron Free­man

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