Bolton Wanderers travel to Nottingham on Saturday afternoon to come head to head against their former manager, Douglas Freedman.
After Saturday's enthralling but eventually disappointing result at the Macron Stadium Neil Lennon's men are looking to get back to winning ways at the City Ground. They will come up against a recently buoyed Nottingham Forest side who have picked up 2 wins and a draw since Freedman's arrival.
The last time that the two sides met was at the start of the season where the spoils were shared. Joe Mason had headed Bolton into the lead inside four minutes and David Wheater had even managed to get himself on the score sheet. However, a brace from Britt Assombalonga meant that both sides had to settle for a point.
A lot has changed since that early season encounter. Bolton Wanderers' fortunes have seemingly improved since the Scot's departure in October as Neil Lennon has steadied the ship at the Macron with Bolton's home form and general moral around the camp rocketing.
However, since that game Nottingham Forest's fortunes have changed for the worse. Despite being amongst the bookie's early favorites for promotion after a strong start to the season, Stuart ‘Psycho' Pearce paid the price for just 3 victories in 21 games as his emotional return to Forest ended abruptly after chairman Fawaz Al-Hasawi terminated Pearce's contract following a dreadful run of results.
Former Crystal Palace and Bolton Wanderers manager Freedman was quickly appointed by Forest's chairman as he became the Kuwaiti owner's seventh manager in just two-and-a-half years at the City Ground. It was initially believed that the Scott had signed an 18-month deal however the chairman clarified yesterday that Freedman's contract was initially only for 3 months which has brought his job security into light at such an early stage of his tenure with Forest, with various papers reporting how me may be replaced at the end of the season.
Freedman was in charge for Forest's game in the SkyBet Championship last weekend. He visited Bloomfield Road and watched as his team played out an eight-goal thriller against nine-man and bottom-of-the-table Blackpool on a horrific pitch, eventually drawing 4-4 to end his 100% start.
Forest were forced to come from behind twice in the match and looked to have snatched a late winner in the 95th minute, only for David Ferguson to pop up even deeper into stoppage time and cap off one of the most remarkable games in recent memory. Freedman described his team's defending as ‘alarming', hopefully the same alarm bells will be ringing come Saturday.
Forest will be without skipper Jack Hobbs this weekend after he was ruled out for up to four weeks with a hamstring injury, but his loss will be eased by the returns of Kelvin Wilson and Michael Mancienne.
Matty Fryatt is again expected to lead the line for the hosts after Britt Assombalonga was ruled out for the rest of the year with a very serious knee injury.
Neil Lennon could be boosted by the returns of Matt Mills, Craig Davies and Emile Heskey, who are expected to undergo late fitness tests with a view to being back in the squad this weekend.
The match will come too soon for our forever injured Mark Davies, although the midfielder is approaching a return to full fitness (for the time being.)
Earlier today Lennon appeared on SkySports News and had this to say about tomorrow's game.
'Despite not getting the results that we wanted we're very pleased with the progress that we've been making.'
Lennon later added,
'It will be a very difficult task playing away from home tomorrow'
Bolton Wanderers supporters will be able to pay on the day at the City Ground.
Nottingham Forest: 10th
Recent form: WLLWWD
Bolton Wanderers: 16th
Recent form: WLDLWL
Referee: Carl Boyeson
Assistant Referees: Nigel Lugg, William Smallwood
Fourth Official: Stuart Attwell