Forest Green Rovers striker Christian Doidge ‘hoopy’ to seal £300,000 move to Hibs after basketball past helps jump-start his football career

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CHRISTIAN DOIDGE insists basketball can help him jump-start his Hibs career after he sealed a £300,000 move from Forest Green Rovers.

The striker has penned a three-year deal and is expected to be followed to Easter Road by Yeovil Town defender Tom James within the next 24 hours.

(Pic: HibsTV)

Doidge was in danger of seeing his football dreams dashed when he was released as a teenager by Bristol Rovers.

But the 26-year-old rekindled his love for the beautiful game after a spell playing basketball that saw him turn out for Wales at the European Championships.

After subsequently breaking out of the Welsh football leagues with a move to Dagenham and Redbridge, the marksman shot to prominence with Forest Green, scoring 63 times in 121 games.

And, after a proposed permanent move to Bolton Wanderers fell through last season, Doidge insists he is delighted Hibs have won the race for his signature after he was won over by manager Paul Heckingbottom.

He said: “I’ve known about the interest for about two weeks and there was stuff between the two clubs that I can’t control, but I’m really happy we’ve managed to agree terms.

“The manager was really impressive. I feel like I know exactly what he wants me to do after speaking to him for about 10 seconds.

“He’s very clear with his instructions, and what he wants me to do, I think, really suits my game, so I’m looking forward to working under him.”

It has been a long road to the Scottish Premiership for Doidge, who turned out for Barry Town and Carmarthen Town before moving into the English leagues.

WALKED AWAY

And all that came after being dealt that hammer blow of a knock-back from Bristol Rovers – and a change of sports – as a youngster.

He added: “I got released at 15 and obviously I was gutted because it was my dream to be a professional footballer.

“I just walked away from the game for a little while.

“I went to America on holiday and went to watch Orlando Magic and just fell in love with basketball.

“A lot of my friends at home were playing it. I went to a school that had a basketball academy, so I just joined up with that and played it for about two or three years.

“Towards the end of my basketball spell I started playing football again and fell back in love with football.

“It was a really good experience and I feel it has improved my football game, just because of jumping and helping my movement, and losing defenders and stuff.

“So I probably wouldn’t be sitting here if I didn’t have that stint as a basketball player. It really has helped me improve.”

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