Stevenage's Luke Freeman eyes promotion after winning award
Stevenage forward Luke Freeman has set his sights on beating Sheffield United in the League One play-offs after winning the Football League Young Player of the Month award for April.
Boro face United in a two-legged semi-final with Freeman, 19, having scored three goals in his last five matches.
"We're not afraid of playing them in one game and we believe we can take them over the two games," he said.
The first match takes place at Stevenage on Friday.
The home team, who have kept 20 clean sheets in all competitions this term, recorded an impressive on their way to securing sixth place in the League One table.
"If you look at our defensive record it's very good," added Freeman, whose team play the return leg in Sheffield on Monday.
"We can defend as well as attack, which is why we've got to where we have."
Freeman goes into the contest boosted by his Football League award, which comes off the back of an impressive April that included a brace in a 6-0 win over Yeovil.
"It's the biggest achievement I've had so far in my career," he said.
"I know I'm still quite young but it's my first award and I'll never forget it."
Following up his award with play-off success would cap a memorable few months for Freeman, who was on the books of Premier League giants Arsenal at the beginning of the season, but joined Boro permanently in January after a promising loan spell.
"You could say I was surprised Arsenal allowed me to move on," he said.
"But the only thing I had in my mind was to play first-team football. I loved my time at Arsenal but I didn't necessarily want to go back to playing reserve football."
A former Charlton academy player, Freeman was released by the Addicks before being signed up by Gillingham.
He had made just three substitute appearances for the Gills when the Gunners won a battle to sign the attacker for a reported £200,000.
But Freeman failed to make inroads at the Emirates and has benefited from a drop in divisions, scoring seven times in 30 games for Boro, although a future return to the top flight is on the youngster's agenda.
"You have to have that belief inside you," he said.
"It's about getting as much experience as I can at a young age before moving on."
And Stevenage boss Gary Smith believes that a future in the Premier League is a realistic ambition for the Dartford-born playmaker.
"I think he has all the qualities to achieve that," said the Stevenage boss.
"That ability to get beyond people and make a yard on someone is there for all to see.
"I think as he matures and develops there is every chance he has enough room to stretch back into the Premier League."