FREEDMAN FIGHT­ING TO KEEP TRIO

Bids are re­vealed by boss

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Joel Lamy

DOUGIE Freedman has much to pon­der over the next few days as he weighs up bids for three of his Not­ting­ham For­est play­ers and tries to work out how to get more goals out of his side.

Freedman ad­mit­ted Cardiff’s strik­ers were the dif­fer­ence be­tween the two teams af­ter goals from Ken­wyne Jones and Joe Ma­son ei­ther side of half­time con­tin­ued the visi­tors’ un­beaten start to the league sea­son.

And although the For­est boss saw prize as­set Michail An­to­nio pull a goal back late on, it might only en­tice more suit­ors to come in for the for­ward be­fore dead­line day on Tues­day.

Freedman ac­knowl­edged An­to­nio was one of three play­ers he is con­sid­er­ing of­fers for – with Michael Man­ci­enne con­firmed as another – but he pledged he will only sell if it is the right deal for For­est who are cur­rently un­der a trans­fer em­bargo, mean­ing they can­not spend on play­ers.

Freedman said: “The mes­sage for the fans is I will do my best for the football club. Bids have been on the ta­ble for the last two to three days and I will make a de­ci­sion when I’m ready.

“There’s no price in mind. It’s what I can get in the deal.”

On his side’s per­for­mance at the City Ground, Freedman, who is still with­out the in­jured Britt As­som­ba­longa and Matty Fry­att added: “In the first half the tempo was low but we had chances to get some­thing from the game.

“I can’t be dis­ap­pointed in the way we played. If not for a won­der­ful per­for­mance from the goal­keeper we might have got the right re­sult.

“Their strik­ers were the dif­fer­ence. There’s no hid­ing be­hind that fact. It was not be­cause of the de­sire or sup­port.”

Cardiff were re­lieved to see out was a fran­tic fi­nal few min­utes at the end of the match, but they were fully de­serv­ing of their lead.

Peter Whit­ting­ham pro­vided a touch of class when he capi- talised on Eric Lichaj’s de­fen­sive header down Cardiff’s left to float over a cross where Jones leapt high and pow­ered home a header from around ten yards out.

Ma­son had ear­lier drib­bled ef­fort­lessly past Jack Hobbs, only to shoot straight at Dorus De Vries, but soon af­ter half-time he got the fi­nal touch on An­thony Pilk­ing­ton’s goal-bound curl­ing ef­fort from the right af­ter Lichaj had headed clear a cor­ner.

Dex­ter Black­stock’s in­tro­duc­tion changed the mo­men­tum of the match with the lively Tyler Walker – who earned a de­served stand­ing ova­tion when he went off – mov­ing to the right.

For­est be­gan to test out David Mar­shall be­fore An­to­nio – who had ear­lier been de­nied by the goal­keeper’s left hand – latched on to Black­stock’s flick be­fore slid­ing a low shot into the net.

That set up a fran­tic fi­nale where Ma­son should have scored again and For­est piled on the pres­sure, but Cardiff held on for the win.

The Bluebirds’ boss Rus­sell Slade was full of ad­mi­ra­tion for Jones af­ter his sec­ond goal in con­sec­u­tive league games.

He said: “It was an ex­cel­lent ball in there and Ken­wyne’s tim­ing to get be­tween the two cen­tre-halves to put it in was phe­nom­e­nal. A great fin­ish.”

Slade is look­ing to bring in a new player to the club, although he re­mained tight-lipped on whether that would be free agent Kevin Nolan.

But on West Brom’s in­ter­est in Mar­shall he added: “I can’t see any­thing hap­pen­ing – his per­for­mance here was ex­cel­lent, he had to make two or three saves.

“I said all along I don’t want to lose our qual­ity play­ers and David is one of those.”

On his side’s vic­tory, Slade added: “It was so im­por­tant to keep the mo­men­tum go­ing.”

DE­SPAIR: Kyle Ebe­cilio holds his hands to his head as For­est slump to de­feat

STAR MAN PETER WHITTI

NG­HAM Cardiff

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