NEWPORT-BORN striker Christian Doidge is reportedly a target for four different clubs after firing Forest Green Rovers into the Football League for the first time.

Doidge scored a stunning goal – his 27th of the season – as Forest Green beat Tranmere Rovers 3-1 in the National League Promotion Final at Wembley on Sunday.

The Gloucestershire side will play in the Football League for the first time in their history and Doidge returns to League Two after a two-year spell at Dagenham & Redbridge.

And the 6ft 2ins front man’s fine form has apparently impressed the likes of Charlton Athletic, Shrewsbury Town, Portsmouth and Scottish Premier League outfit Hibernian.

But, after the securing promotion, Doidge told the Stroud News & Journal: “I’m absolutely delighted. This was the aim at the start of the season to do this and what better way to do it than at Wembley?

“Forest Green is such a great club and people work so hard behind the scenes and it’s a club that’s going in the right direction.

“Forest Green are looking to go on again so it’s definitely a good time to be part of the football club."

On his goal (above), a right foot rocket from the edge of the penalty area, he added: “It was unbelievable. It’s probably the best goal I’ve ever scored.

“I’m normally someone who scores in the six-yard box but it’s good to show people I can score different goals.”

Rovers boss Mark Cooper says Doidge has answered his critics after an underwhelming spell at Dagenham, which ended in relegation from League Two 12 months ago.

"He is an unbelievable professional. If you had 11 or 12 of him in your squad, you wouldn't go far wrong," Cooper said.

"He's just desperate to be a footballer, works hard every day. And he's getting better and better. Someone said at the start of the season 'he'll never score 20 goals' - he's definitely shut them up."

Just three years ago Doidge was playing for Carmarthen Town in the Welsh Premier League and working for South Wales Police after a trial at his hometown club Newport County AFC came to nothing.

At the time Carmarthen manager Mark Aizlewood, a former County defender, said the Exiles were making a massive mistake as Doidge was about to sign for the Daggers.

“If County allow Christian to go to Dagenham it will be the biggest mistake they’ve made since they failed to secure a sell-on fee when John Aldridge left,” said Aizlewood.

“I’ve played in the top division and international football but this lad is the best I’ve seen in the air at any level.

“The perception is that the Welsh Premier League is rubbish but this kid has got a lot of talent and he’s a County fan but they’re going to let him go to Dagenham.

“I can’t believe it. I’ve spoken to Justin about Christian and he says he hasn’t got any money,” he added.

“But they could get him for peanuts and he’d play for County for a three-figure salary. He lives in Cwmbran so he’s right on their doorstep but they’re not giving him a chance.”

South Wales Argus:

Then Exiles boss Edinburgh said his priority that summer was to strengthen in other areas.

“We had a look at Doidge and he’s obviously a talent,” said Edinburgh.

“If things had been different this summer and we’d lost Chris Zebroski or Aaron O’Connor or whoever for whatever reason then maybe we would have moved for the boy.

“But we’ve got eight strikers already and we had no room for anyone else. We had different priorities – we needed to sign a centre-half and strengthen midfield.

“It wasn’t a flippant decision and it wasn’t a snub to Carmarthen at all,” he added.

“We know his pedigree and we know he’s doing well at Dagenham but we just weren’t in a position to sign another striker.”

But later in the season Edinburgh was more dismissive of the striker and, in particular, Aizlewood.

“He was never an option for us,” said Edinburgh. “But I’ve been told by the Carmarthen manager in the paper that it would be the biggest mistake we’ve made since we didn’t have a sell-on for John Aldridge. I beg to differ.

“I don’t know his (Aizlewood’s) name and I don’t remember coming across him when I played in the Premiership or when I’ve managed.

“He’s talking about a top quality international like John Aldridge and I’m not bringing the boy into it, I’m talking about the manager’s comments.

“I don’t think he (Aizlewood) has played at the level I’ve played at. He certainly hasn’t managed at the same level so it’s probably best to keep those kind of comments to himself.

“I’ve seen the boy play twice this year and I think he could have a future in the game but whether or not he’s going to come back and bite me on the backside like I’ve been told time will tell,” he added.

“We had him in the door and he had a good attitude and certain things about his game were good.

“He had things to learn but at the time I felt the players we had were better equipped and I stand by that.”

Doidge started his career in the youth system at Southampton, where he spent three years before he was released.

He then joined Bristol Rovers but failed to earn a youth scholarship and was released in 2008 at the age of 15.

He briefly gave up football to play basketball and played at county level for Gwent ABC. Shortly afterwards he represented Wales in the European Championship in Malta.

South Wales Argus:

He then moved on to Welsh Football League Division Two side Cwmbran Celtic for the 2009–10 season, before signing for divisional rivals Croesyceiliog (above) in 2010.

In November 2011 he joined Welsh Football League First Division side Barry Town and, in January 2013, he signed for Welsh Premier League side Carmarthen.