Michael Chopra confident he will reach 20-goal target

REJUVENATED Michael Chopra is confident he will hit at least 20 goals for Ipswich Town this season.

The 27-year-old striker is battling a severe gambling addiction but says he hasn’t had a bet for nearly eight weeks now.

And having enjoyed the last two weeks on the training pitch – his previous international break having been spent holed up in the Sporting Chance Clinic – he is ready to hit top form again at Nottingham Forest tomorrow.

“I know I need to repay people and I believe I will,” said the front man, who admits he has been blown away by the support he has received from employers, team-mates and supporters alike following his recent public outpouring of emotion about his off-field issues.

“I’ve scored six goals now this season and to be honest I could already be on about 10. I’ve set myself a target of 20 goals and I believe I will get them.”

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The former Newcastle, Sunderland and Cardiff striker continued: “This is the happiest I’ve felt for a long, long time. Part of that is down to not betting and part of it is being at a football club that has shown it really wants me.

“I’m feeling well, I’m feeling fit and I’m feeling good about myself. I’m focusing on the positives and the brighter side of life.

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“Ever since I was a little boy I just loved scoring goals and it was my dream to do it in front of so many people. When you score a goal and you hear the fans singing your name it just makes the hairs on the back of your neck stick up.

“I believe the players we’ve got in this team will create the chances for me and I’ll be there to put them away.”

Chopra, who has partnered both Jason Scotland and Tamas Priskin up front in recent games, added: “I don’t really mind who I’m playing with – I’m just happy to be in the team really what with everything that’s gone on. I believe I’m a good player and can do well alongside anybody.

“Nottingham Forest have got a brilliant squad and I know before I even step on the pitch that it’s going to be a battle for me on Saturday, but it’s a battle I’m going to relish.”

– See tomorrow’s EADT and Evening Star for full match preview. Live outside of Suffolk and north Essex? Subscribe to our e-edition at www.eadt.co.uk and www.eveningstar.co.uk.

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