Freedman quashes call for long-term Dawson move
DOUGIE Freedman is delighted with the impact on-loan defender Craig Dawson has made at Wanderers – but does not expect him to sign him permanently.
The England Under-21 star grabbed his fourth goal in three games in the 3-2 win against Barnsley to leave jubilant Whites fans screaming for the manager to “sign him up.”
Some recent reports have speculated that a deal could be in the offing, with West Brom apparently willing to do business for £1.5million because they are already well-stocked with centre halves.
But the stories fly in the face of what both Freedman and Steve Clarke have said in public, with the Baggies boss claiming his highly rated 22-year-old still has a “big future” in the Midlands.
Freedman also denies that any talk of a transfer has taken place and has promised to send Dawson back to the Hawthorns at the end of April.
“We’ve not spoken to West Brom at all,” he said. “And I won’t go back on my word.
“The deal was to bring Craig here for three months, develop him, give him some games, which is something they can’t do right now. I’ll stick to that.”
While Dawson’s goals have grabbed the headlines, his presence in the back four has also been a huge factor in Wanderers’ upturn in form.
Freedman is happy to hear the ringing endorsements from the terraces but admits he cannot currently consider making an offer to take him full time.
“It’s fantastic that the fans are saying that but being realistic, that wasn’t the deal,” he said.
“The deal was to bring Craig here, he works hard in training and we develop him. We then send him back to West Brom and he’ll remember us for what we have done for him.
“He’s a good lad and he’s still got a lot to learn. But let’s not get excited. West Brom let him come out to us because he’s not going to get in their side right now. He needed to get some experience.
“I told Craig the deal – I would bring him here, develop him as a player and send him back to West Brom better. That’s still the deal.”
Dawson, for his part, is keeping his head down and enjoying his time at the Reebok.
“There is great team spirit and everyone gets on together,” the defender said. “I think that is shown on the pitch.
“I have just got to keep playing my football and preparing for each game as it comes. At the moment it’s just a loan. “I have just got to keep concentrating on my football and playing well.”
Should Wanderers succeed in their play-off chase, they will have to do without Dawson, whose deal expires on April 27.
That means he would be absent for the final game of the season against Blackpool, and any subsequent play-off games.
“We won’t have him as it stands, that’s the deal,” Freedman confirmed. “But we won’t have Mark Davies either for the rest of the season and we didn’t have Chris Eagles last week. You can’t keep looking back – we’re a club, we’re a team and that’s what gets results.”