There's really no skirting round or pussy-footing around this but you've had a shocking start, haven't you? Is this just a blip or a very ominous sign of a dark season ahead?
Dan Murphy: It’s a results business so only results count, in that regard yes, we have had a pretty bad start. However, we’ve only played terribly in one of our three league games to date, and that was away to a side with Stewart Downing in it, so it’s a bit more understandable. In our other two games, Derby County and MK Dons, we dominated for large portions of the game and really should have won both by about two or three goals. Our finishing has just really let us down. So whilst in terms of points on the board, the start of the season is far from ideal, it’s far better than starts in recent years and the players need to take encouragement from their performances and not get too disheartened. If they do let the results get to them, then we could be in for a really tricky time.
BRIEFLY now, remind us about Dougie's failings at your club (but keep it reigned in, if you can)
DM: You know, he’s alright ol’ Dougie. Apart from: making his whole plans for a season around a player we hadn’t signed, being the boss of the club’s two worst league starts in their history in a row, signing utter shit like Danny Butterfield and Owen Garvan (and playing them!), spouting the same old tedious rhetoric after every single match that the fans took to playing #DougieBingo after every game, playing horrendously dull, negative football, constantly calling the intelligence of supporters, alienating all the youth players and upsetting them so much they wanted to leave and just generally making the club so poisonous that in his last game three separate fans invaded the pitch in protest, one of which made a bee line towards Dougie, he’s actually a great manager. You’ve got a good ‘un there.
I see. Thanks for the the encouraging words. How's ex-Tricky Neil Lennon doing? Is he blameless for the current situation or does most of that lie at the foot of the board?
DM: In the current predicament he’s doing amazingly, you have to understand that we literally have no money to buy players with, not a single penny. Selling our best and most consistent defender literally only gets us a freebie and a kid on loan, that’s how dire it is. So with in those parameters, he’s doing all he can. He’s shrewdly negotiating the transfer market and doing some clever business. On the pitch, he’s still not the most experienced manager in the world, mistakes are made and he has a tendency of trying to the squarest of pegs in the roundest of holes, but with out him, in no uncertain terms, we’d be fucked. So Lennon’s doing all he can, he does have room for improvement, but no one else could do anything more and our current predicament is entirely due to the board.
Hmmm. Sound like your bestie Freedman in that respect then. We know about Zach Clough being decent. Anyone else we should be wary of?
This may make you snigger, but Gary Madine is a very good target man and he wins absolutely everything in the air, if we can get support to him that ins’t Liam Feeney then he could be a real danger. Mark Davies has looked sharp so far this season, and he’s got a weaving run and finish in him just as much as Clough does. Finally, there’s Josh Vela. He’s a neat and tidy centre midfielder who usually doesn’t pose too much a threat to opposition defences, but remember when I talked about Dougie making a youth player want to leave earlier? That was Vela. If football narratives are anything these days, he’ll score the winner.
A winner for Bolton is more likely to come from Stephen Dobbie - it's what he does against us, even when he's rubbish.
DM: Given that he was too slow to react to a rebound that came his way on Tuesday night, meaning he would have had an empty net to poke home into, I wouldn’t be too worried.
Stlll worried. Give us a reason you'll beat us
The Dougie Freedman factor. You can’t underestimate how much Bolton Wanderers, fans and no doubt players, hate Dougie Freedman. I can’t imagine there is any team some of the lads will want to beat more than a team he is managing. Bolton have been really clever in making this game a ‘Category D’ for home fans, meaning tickets are £15 for adults and £5 for everyone else. I really think the Macron could be nearing to a full house on Saturday, especially with your travelling contingent. With Forest fans that tend to be loud, and the home support at Bolton gradually beginning to find a voice, the atmosphere could be a akin to a derby - electric. If the players feed of the atmosphere, added with the extra motivations of Freedman and actually needing to win a game, I really could see us trouncing you.
Plus Dougie really is shit.
Give us a reason we'll win
DM: The Dougie Freedman factor. It would be oh so predictable for Dougie to come back to the Macron and absolutely shit house the most undeserved 1-0 victory in the world, and you just know Matt Mills will score it from a corner. There’s also the small matter that our only senior left back, Dean Moxey, will probably miss the game. Which could mean Fillip Twardzik plays at left back. The last time Twardzik played for Bolton was against you. You annihilated us. I’m very scared.
I pray to god you’ve sold Antonio by then.
Not yet. He’s on the bus to Bolton. We’ll see. And yes, ex-central defenders really do have a habit of scoring against their old clubs. Step forward Danny Collins who notched one against us last week for Rotherham.
So there you have it. There will be almost a full house baying for Freedman's blood. Hope our boys bring their shooting and stopping boots along with a big bag of steely nerves.