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Dawson's heart to Hart

Posted on 16 October 2009  - 12:00

Michael Dawson will come up against the man who gave him his big break in the game on Saturday.

Michael Dawson will come up against the man who gave him his big break in the game on Saturday.

Paul Hart, now manager of Portsmouth, brought the defender through the youth system at Nottingham Forest and gave him his senior debut at the age of 18 in April, 2002.

The same goes for Jermaine Jenas at Forest and Jonathan Woodgate, who Hart brought through the Academy at Leeds United.

'Daws' went on to make 91 first team appearances at Forest before his switch to Spurs in January, 2005.

"Paul was in charge of the youth scheme at Forest and signed me as a 14-year-old," reflected the popular defender. "When I was 16 he was Under-19s manager and I remember playing under him for just over a year before he got the first team job.

"At the end of my second year as a full-time scholar, he gave me the chance to make my first team debut.

"The way he coached and his discipline was unbelievable and the amount of players he's developed shows he's a top coach.

"He certainly taught me a few things about the game. He was tough and he can certainly give out a few rollockings, I can tell you.

"Your standards had to be of the highest order every day in training, and he certainly let you know if they weren't."

Michael, now 25, is looking forward to meeting his former boss again as we travel to Fratton Park for another important match in the Barclays Premier League.

"I've not seen Paul for a long while, since he left Forest," added Daws. "I was disappointed to see him go then so it will be good to see him again.

"In my first full year as a first team player at Forest he took us to the play-off semi-finals but after that the club sold a few players and, unfortunately for him, results didn't go for him.

"But the way he had us playing during that first season meant a lot of top clubs were talking about him, and now he's managing in the Premier League.

"I'm sure he's enjoying it, although I'm sure he would like a few more points on the board, and he's certainly doing his best."