The Opposition View: Nottingham Forest

Forest Fan Dave Graham answers the questions I asked him ahead of tomorrow's clash with Billy Davies' men.

Nottingham Forest were expected to challenge for automatic promotion but that hasn't materialised yet. Is automatic promotion still a realistic target?

No. While our squad is talented, we don't have the depth or the experience to cause much concern for the top two. We currently sit two points off the play-offs, and I believe chasing 6th place will be a familiar theme throughout this season for us.

What impact have Billy Davies had on
Forest since arriving at the club? Is he the right man to take you forward.

In my opinion, huge.

Our previous manager Colin Calderwood had taken us as far as he could, which unfortunately for us, and him, was a relegation zone spot. After being humbled by Donny at home at Christmas of 08/09 he got the chop and Billy was given the job.

Coming from our wooly rivals down the road his appointment came with some hostility, in the end however he made some astute loan signings (Gunter/Blackstock/Camp), and dragged us into Championship safety and proved most people wrong. If we had gone down again (after only just returning to the league following 3 long seasons down in League 1), it would have been disastrous.

The following season (admittedly with a big budget), he created the best team we've had in arguably a decade which saw us finish 3rd. Unfortunately Forest don't do play-offs (see Sheffield United 2003, Yeovil 2007 and Blackpool '10) so here we are again.

Billy Davies is extremely outspoken, and never seems to be afraid to speak his mind for good or bad, which has lead to a supposed rift between him and the board after the failure to bring in any players over the summer, bar one loanee. As mere fans we of course are left hunting in the dark for scraps for any sort of information - and are just left with the image of a man who seems to be extremely proud, unafraid to speak his mind and has clear managerial talent. It's not the first time a person of this ilk has made the transition from Derby County to Forest...

What are the main strengths of this
Nottingham Forest team?

If injuries were not an issue and all you needed to rely on was a starting XI, we could possibly win the league. We are lucky enough to have some extremely talented footballers. Chris Gunter is arguably the best right back in league, while Chris Bertrand would claim a stake for the best on the left. In midfield we have the incredible talent of Radaslow Majewski, as well as the free scoring Lewis McGugan (7 goals in 8 games this term), who can score from anywhere. Up front, when not injured, Robert Earnshaw is the envy of most Championship clubs.

And the weaknesses?

I believe we have the smallest & youngest squad in the league. Neither are good attributes to have in the Championship.

What do you make of the current Pompey team? Are there any players in your team that your fans are worried about?

Players like Nugent & Kitson are certainly capable of opening us up. The last few games (and the 6-1 Fester thrashing) have shown you still have that touch of class & experience that comes with Premier League football. As a squad you seem to have, following everything off the field, really pulled your socks up and I imagine you will be out to cause us a lot of problems.

Pompey are in outstanding form at the moment so what sort of match are you expecting at
Fratton Park?

It'll be a high tempo game, we both seem to have come into a bit of a form at the same time! If you manage to score a couple then I doubt we will have much of a reply.

I won't be in attendance, but I hear the match is a sell-out. Expect a good following from the
Forest fans - I know I'm biased but we have one of the better away supports in the division in terms of numbers and noise. With your noisy lot should be a decent atmosphere!

Predict the outcome of the game.

We are the division's draw specialists!

Pompey 1 Forest 1