The Sheep are coming to town and it’s crunch time for Dougie Freedman. But, then again, change is the norm now isn’t it?
There’s been a lot of talk recently about the Holy Grail of ‘stability’ at the City Ground and how we can possibly achieve it.
If you ever needed an example of just how bonkers the managerial situation is in this division – and at this club – then simply look at the clashes between us and D**by since we returned to the second tier in 2008/09.
Friday night’s face off will be the 15th league encounter in that time and will represent the ninth different combination of managers to pit their wits against one another for the Brian Clough Trophy (unless you count the two different incarnations of Billy separately).
Starting with Calderwood v Jewell and moving on to the tetchy Davies v Clough feud through to McClaren, Cotterill, O’Driscoll and then McLeish against Clough before a not-so-happy reunion between Billy and Nigel that saw young Cloughie axed.
McClaren then switched to the other end of the A52 and saw off Billy 2.0, by then in full meltdown mode, before Psycho got the better of Schteve in last year’s clashes with a draw and then THAT emotionally charged win.
The constant changing of the guard in the derby day dug out is mostly our fault since we’ve had seven different bosses for these games since 08/09, but the fact that D**by are considered more stable with four men in the hot seat in seven years says a lot about the shelf life of managers in the Championship.
Sadly for Forest, Paul Clement seems to be settling into life post-Real Madrid, and his expensively-assembled side is showing worrying signs of not succumbing to another McClaren-esque bottle job this time around.
Freedman, on the other hand, badly needs a result if we’re not to see a 10th pair square off in the respective dug outs by the time we go to the retail park off the A52 in March.
I have a theory that most managers talk tripe in post-match interviews – it’s just only when they’re under pressure from a poor run of form that we actually pay attention and notice. That said, Dougie hasn’t done himself any favours recently with his unnecessary words on Dimi Evtimov and proclaiming, against mounting evidence to the contrary, that we aren’t facing a relegation battle.
Some of us are trying to back you here Douglas, chuck us a ruddy bone eh mate?
If Freedman also sounds like a bit of a stuck record in the way he analyses matches then that’s probably because we’ve played out the same game about 10 or 11 times this season. Lots of shots, flashes of promise, zero cutting edge, bugger all know-how and, ultimately, disappointment. It’s a narrative repeated more often than Bond films on Bank Holidays.
The flashes of promise – and context of injuries and the embargo – deserve to be taken into account but will only take Freedman so far. If he stretches his run to 9 matches without a win by failing to silence the Rams then Fawaz may well pull the plug during the international break.
A goal (remember them?) and a win over Clement’s charges would be the perfect tonic to the current run. How it comes is, by now, completely immaterial. A deflection off Chris O’Grady’s backside, Ryan Mendes’ ‘fro, a ruddy coffee cup or off the chip on Chris Martin’s shoulder… anything will do.
Dougie needs his team to be more solid that in recent weeks, show better discipline (yes, that’s you Mills and Lansbury) and find a bit of guile and nous from somewhere.
The merry-go-round has long since stopped being merry. There will be no sunshine on Friday night but maybe in the moonlight, good times Dougie?
Those results in full:
Derby (Jewell) 1 Forest (Calderwood) 1
Forest (Davies) 1 Derby (Clough) 3
Forest (Davies) 3 Derby (Clough) 2
Derby (Clough) 1 Forest (Davies) 0
Forest (Davies) 5 Derby (Clough) 2
Derby (Clough) 0 Forest (Davies) 1
Forest (McClaren) 1 Derby (Clough) 2
Derby (Clough) 1 Forest (Cotterill) 0
Forest (O’Driscoll) 0 Derby (Clough) 1
Derby (Clough) 1 Forest (McLeish) 1
Forest (Davies) 1 Derby (Clough) 0
Derby (McClaren) 5 Forest (Davies) 0
Forest (Pearce) 1 Derby (McClaren) 1
Derby (McClaren) 1 Forest (Pearce) 2
League record since 08/09