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'Dobes' Eyes A New Beginning

The striker believes he has finally woken from an injury nightmare that began a year ago, after returning to first team action on Tuesday night.

It is likely he will again be included on the bench, as fellow promotion chasers Carlisle visit the City Ground.

But the 27-year-old striker could not be happier. Not just because he is close to full fitness, after two rounds of surgery on a troublesome hip problem at a clinic in Colorado, but because he senses that Forest are entering a new era.

Defeat against Oldham in midweek provided the first blip in an otherwise impressive start to the season.

But, after six wins and a draw from their previous seven games, Dobie says there is a new atmosphere around the club.

'I am not sure what you put the change down to, it is hard to say,' he said. 'But things are much better.

'The new gaffer has come in and, along with David Kerslake, they have just created a better atmosphere.

'There is a better mood around the place. There is not one thing they have done to achieve that, but there are several big things that have played a part.

'There is a real sense that we are a proper squad again now, everybody feels as though they have a chance of being in the team.

'From the moment they arrived in pre-season, it was clear that everyone would have a chance, that they would be allowed to prove themselves.

'People often say they will give people a clean slate, but this time they really did. That has created a sense of togetherness and the start we have made to the season has not been unhelpful either, because we are full of confidence. People are happier when you are winning matches, that has created a lot of belief.'

After coming off the bench for 25 minutes against Oldham, Dobie played a further hour in a behind-closed-doors friendly on Wednesday - and ran himself ragged in a 3-0 defeat to Coventry.

'I did work hard, but that is important. You have to do that to get your sharpness back,' he said. 'That is the only thing I am lacking, you can feel it with certain touches, certain things you try to do.

'That will come and, fitness-wise, I feel OK. There are no problems with the hip.

'It is just a case of building things up a little, taking things steadily.

'It was great to get be involved in the first team, to get a little taste of it.'

With Kris Commons and Nathan Tyson also fighting their way back from injury, as well as the likes of Neil Harris, Jack Lester, Junior Agogo and Grant Holt already playing, Dobie knows he will face a fight for his place. But he is more concerned about the manner in which the team bounce back following their midweek setback.

'I am not worried about fighting for my place,' he said. 'It is nothing new.

'At West Brom it was Lee Hughes and Kanu I was vying for a place with.

'There are a lot of strikers here, but we all have different qualities.

'You just have to do your best and, at the moment, I am just happy to be back playing.

'What is important is that we get a good result after Tuesday.

'The result and the performance were a bit of a surprise, but that is one of those things.

'We had made a good start to the season and it was disappointing.

'But it is about how you respond, it is how you react to it and we have to react in the right way.

'We were poor, but we know we can be much better, we have proved that already.

'We just have to do it again on Saturday.'


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The Journalist

Writer:  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday September 15 2006

Time: 12:56PM


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