FREEDMAN FIGHTING TO KEEP TRIO
Bids are revealed by boss
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