DOUGIE Freedman believes Craig Dawson’s arrival at the Reebok will be a catalyst for defensive improvement.

The on-loan West Brom and England Under-21 man produced a stunning debut in the 2-1 win over Burnley last weekend, and is poised to keep his place against Nottingham Forest tomorrow.

The Wanderers boss reckons his side are now a tougher nut to crack than they were on his arrival in October. “When I came to the club I tried to set some standards and to make sure that everyone was up to them,” he said.

“I like to play in a certain way. I like my team to pass the ball and control possession, but when asked a question, you have got to answer defensively and I think Craig Dawson has done that since he came in.

“I think we’ve also seen Marcos Alonso come up. He hadn’t really played for this club in two and a half years and when I came through the doors I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing. He is a very talented young lad who needed to be nurtured.”

On David Wheater’s impending return, Freedman added: “He’s a fantastic character and a defender who defends in the good old fashioned way.

“Wheats has been out a long time but he has trained very hard. He’s done five reserve games now, so he’s really in contention for Saturday.”