Date: 19th July 2006 at 12:32pm
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Gino Padula wants to salvage his Nottingham Forest career and will be given a go tonight away at the MK-Dons.

Gino Padula was unveiled to Forest fans for the first time in Friday’s pre-season warm-up at Ilkeston.

Gino Padula knows this season is as much about winning over the people in the stands as the new man in charge after a season that was aborted no sooner than it had started.

He’s made only four first team appearances since arriving from QPR last summer – and hasn’t been seen since last September’s 2-0 defeat at Barnsley.

Padula suffered more than anyone after a game that prompted Gary Megson to offer his resignation with the season barely under way.

As a result he is now one of a number who see Calderwood’s arrival as a chance to re-ignite their flagging Forest careers.

For Padula the 45 minutes he played at the New Manor Ground on Friday was a first opportunity to show the new manager what he can do.

And he didn’t pass up the chance, laying on a goal for Nathan Tyson and showing good ambition down the left.

Given Forest’s lack of left-sided players, he could find himself very much part of Calderwood’s plans. He should get another opportunity to state his case in tonight’s clash with MK Dons.

And the 30-year-old is under no illusions that the next couple of weeks could define the rest of his career.

‘When a new manager comes to the club every player in the squad starts afresh,’ he said. ‘In football, 90 minutes can change your life. I am training hard and waiting for my chance.

‘I want to play. I don’t want another year like last season because I lost one year of my career and I don’t want to lose another one.’

Padula still claims not to understand why he was treated so harshly by Megson.

Now he says he is determined to show the fans that he never deserved to be an outcast.

‘They don’t see the real Gino because I’ve only played three or four games,’ he said. ‘When you play one week and then another it’s not the same as playing all the time. It is difficult because the confidence is up when you play every week.

‘When I signed for Forest I thought I had the chance to play in the first team,’ he said. ‘But I didn’t. I played a few games and after that I wasn’t involved in the team.

‘When you have a chance in the team and play badly for seven or ten games then you can understand the decision.

‘I was disappointed that I didn’t have the chance to show something. If I play ten to 15 games and play bad, then the fans can say I’m a bad player, but I haven’t even had the chance. At my age you want to play first team football.

‘I think Colin knows everyone in the team. I’ve played in England the last seven or eight years so he knows me and he knows all the players.

‘He has a difficult decision picking the team for the first game. I know we have very good players in every position, but I have confidence in myself.’

Source NEP