Former Oxford City striker Garath McCleary is determined to make the most of his big break following a dream move to Nottingham Forest.

The 20-year-old striker joined the Coca-Cola League One promotion-chasers from Bromley for an undisclosed fee before the transfer deadline.

And he has already made an impact, scoring on his debut for Forest Reserves in their 3-2 win at Shrewsbury Town Res in the Pontin's League.

McCleary, who has a two-and-a-half year contract, said: "To sign for such a historic club like Forest I was over the moon, and so were my family.

"It hasn't really sunk in. I can't wait to get started. I need to get physically fit and that is going to take a couple of weeks."

McCleary was offered a trial by Forest scouts after impressing while playing for Bromley against Eastleigh in the Blue Square South before Christmas.

However, he picked up a hip injury in that game, and it wasn't until last month that he went up to the City Ground.

He shone then during a behind-closed-doors reserve friendly against Notts County, prompting manager Colin Calderwood to sign him.

And he could hardly have made a better start than scoring on his reserves debut.

"One of my teammates was going to have a shot but the ball rolled closer to me, so I hit it on the half-volley and it went into the corner, so I was happy about that."

McCleary, who hails from Blackbird Leys, admits he needs to improve his general fitness to that expected of a professional club.

"They said it will be until the end of February when I will get to my peak," he explained.

"I want to push into the first team and help the team get promoted. I do think I can get into the first team, but it is up to the manager.

"I have got to do well in the reserve games and in training, then hopefully he will pick me."

McCleary, a former student of Oxford & Cherwell Valley College, revealed he almost gave the game up 12 months ago to go to university.

"I fractured my leg in July 2006 and around this time last year I was considering packing up," he said.

"But my family told me to stick with it and give it another year and that is what I have done. I am happy that I have made that decision.

"I was at Slough when they went into liquidation. I didn't have a club for the first two months and then Bromley came in for me at the end of March, and I was very grateful to them."

McCleary spent three months on trial with Oxford United in 2005, but wasn't offered a professional contract However, a string of impressive performances for his college side - when the now-Oxford United assistant manager Mickey Lewis was among the coaches - saw him selected for the England Colleges Under 19s side.

He went on to star in an international tournament in Italy, and McCleary added: "Mickey helped my game and then I got the opportunity to go with England Under 19 Colleges where we played against teams like Spain and Ivory Coast, and that was a good experience.