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Match Preview: Bolton v Nottingham Forest

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Big big game for Wanderers this weekend

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Clint Hughes

Fresh from a 5-0 home thumping of West Ham's fourth team, one-man hurricane and nasty piece of work Billy Davies brings his team north to Bolton Wanderers this weekend in a key fixture in the Championship.

This is Forest's sixth consecutive season in this division, and it pains me to say that they are doing well. I have nothing against the club and its fans, but the manager is SUCH a bell that I wish all his teams great failure and crushing disappointment - something he is quite good at providing himself, the arrogant little toad.

Davies oversaw a busy summer at the City Ground as the club spent the riches provided by the wealthy Kuwaiti Al-Hasawi family:

Transfers in

Player

From

Darius Henderson

Free agent

Eric Lichaj

Free agent

Gonzalo Jara

Free agent

Jamie Paterson

Walsall

Dorus de Vries

Wolves

Djamel Abdoun

Olympiacos

Jamie Mackie

Queens Park Rangers

Kelvin Wilson

Celtic

Transfers out

Player

To

Lewis McGugan

Watford

David McGoldrick

Ipswich Town

Adlène Guedioura

Crystal Palace

Loans in

Player

From

Jack Hobbs

Hull City

Nathaniel Chalobah

Chelsea

David Vaughan

Sunderland

They began the season with three consecutive wins, beating Huddersfield Town in the season opener, before defeating Blackburn Rovers 1-0 at Ewood Park, and a comprehensive 3-0 home win against Dougie Freedman's Bolton Wanderers.

Since then, the club has played 24 games losing only four. Make no mistake, this is a very difficult game for Bolton.

Despite such heavy investment, Forest have not had things all their own way this season. They have suffered in the press through the actions of their combative (for combative read 'tosser') of a manager.

Touchline bans, spats with local journalists and threatening behaviour towards a press photographer all combines to paint a picture of a very troubled man who could cause a riot in an empty room.

Earlier this week, the Telegraph reported on proceedings with:

"Since his return in February there have been multiple sackings of club staff, journalists banned, a near media blackout and a suspended solicitor, and cousin of Davies, acting as his closest adviser.

One Championship chief executive has referred to the club as "the Midlands version of North Korea" and there have been enough complaints to the Football League for its chief executive to seek a meeting with the club's Kuwaiti owner, Fawaz Al-Hasawi.

Forest's hostile attitude is difficult to understand, not least because senior figures at the club have all but refused to speak to the media all season. Davies speaks only to the club's official website and a regional TV station, and journalists present at post-match press conferences are filmed by a club employee.
Even away from the City Ground, Davies attempts to retain control. In December he confronted Dan Westwell, a freelance photographer working for the local newspaper, the Nottingham Post, who was taking pictures of him at Millwall.

"I just sat there in stunned silence not knowing if he was going to hit me or threaten me or what he was going to do," Westwell said. "I was just thankful that the Millwall stewards were on the scene straight away."
Forest claimed Davies had challenged Westwell because he had behaved "unprofessionally" - although it was not clear how - but the incident typified the club's aggressive approach"

So as you can see, Billy Davies is a very strange man, and what is even stranger is that Nottingham Forest seem to be happy to let Davies run their famous reputation into the ground.

That said, he is getting results, and at the end of the day that can sometimes be enough for a club and it's fans to turn a blind eye to the faults and failings of their manager.

On the field, porky midfielder Andy Reid is top scorer with 7 league goals. Simon Cox, Darius Henderson and former Arsenal man Henri Lansbury all have 5. Lansbury tops the disciplinary table with 8 yellow cards.

Saturday will see the 86th meeting of the two sides, both 31 wins apiece to date. Wanderers old boy Joe Smith is our top scorer between the two teams, with 6 goals.

The first game between the two clubs was back in 1892, with Forest prevailing 2-0 in a home fixture.

Last Five Meetings

17.03.2001 - Nottingham Forest 0 v 2 Bolton Wanderers (Dean Holdsworth, Gareth Farrelly)

08.10.2001 - Bolton Wanderers 1 v 0 Nottingham Forest (Rod Wallace)

24.08.2012 - Bolton Wanderers 2 v 2 Nottingham Forest (Chris Eagles, Marvin Sordell)

16.02.2013 - Nottingham Forest 1 v 1 Bolton Wanderers (Craig Davies)

17.08.2013 - Nottingham Forest 3 v 0 Bolton Wanderers

Prediction

Heart - Bolton Wanderers 2 v 1 Nottingham Forest

Head - Bolton Wanderers 1 v 2 Nottingham Forest

Very very tough. Very tough. I'd take a point.