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Question Time: Nottingham Forest

David Marples, of InTheTopOne.com, answers some questions for us.

Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

It's the big one tomorrow, the Dougie Freedman derby. Bolton Wanderers return to the Macron Stadium after two unsuccessful away trips, and they face two old adversaries in Dougie Freedman and Matt Mills, as Nottingham Forest roll into town.

To get the lowdown on how ol' Douglas is doing, amongst other things, I spoke to Nottingham Forest supporter David Marples:

1) You realised that all our warnings were true and that Freedman is an insufferable, greasy smug twat, who's also not very good at managing football teams?


Ha! You may find it difficult to believe but there is a degree of sympathy for Dougie. He is operating under very difficult circumstances (which you know all about) yet few would argue with his business in the transfer market over the summer in recruiting Jamie Ward and Matt Mills (we'll get to him later). He comes over quite well in interviews and such like too.

On the other hand, last Saturday's win at home against Rotherham was the first since, er, the previous win at home against Rotherham. We were on a shocking run under his leadership stretching back to the miserable tail end of last season. A particularly frustrating moment was his decision to play a bunch of loanees in the last home game of the season rather than play youngsters - again, something you lot are all too aware of. He also has a penchant for playing people in weird positions - Michael Mancienne in midfield and at left back.

In fairness though, he had three kids on the pitch on Tuesday - Oliver Burke, Tyler Walker and Jorge Grant - and he did give league debuts to Burke and Walker.

I think the general consensus is that he is probably doing as well as he can under the circumstances. There are no real strong feelings either way - ire has been directed more towards the owner and some players recently.

Give us time though.

2. When do you reckon he'll be sacked? I'm going mid-late November.

If he makes it through the full season, he will have done well. Managers don't tend to make it through full seasons under Fawaz Al-Hasawi's leadership. If he doesn't, some other poor schmuck will see us through until the end of the season and we'll have to start allbleedinover again.

November is a good shout.

3. How's your season going so far?

Not great but encouraging signs in the last two games - a home win against Rotherham and a scoreless draw, again at home, against Charlton. Yeah - we are reduced to taking encouragement from such fixtures.

We were shocking in the opening game at Brighton and followed that up with a 3-4 reverse against Walsall in the League Cup. But then again, it's Walsall and we never beat Walsall anyway.

We've been conceding silly, avoidable goals and without Michail Antonio, are struggling to find the net. However, performances are improving.

4. Rumours are linking both Henri Lansbury and Michail Antonio away from the club, surely you're in trouble if those two leave?

All smiles again on Wednesday as it was announced that Lansbury was not leaving - it seems Fawaz has chained him to his sofa at his home and forced him to smile for the camera. Weird in so many ways, most notably as Lansbury has been back to his best while playing under such speculation.

Antonio...whatever I write now will no doubt have changed by Saturday. He didn't play on Tuesday due to injury/head's gone/didn't fancy it/on strike - delete as applicable. He'll probably go. Fawaz has stated that he will not sell to Derby County. If he sells to Derby then all that remain of the City Ground will be a wide expanse of nothingness as a result of a total and finite meltdown.

On the pitch, without Antonio, we will have to adapt our game significantly. Or struggle.

5. So those two aside, who else is decent in the Forest team?

Matt Mills!

There's bags of talent in the team but a lot of under-performers. Jamie Ward will be very Jamie Wardish but it's the kids who are most likely to hurt you. Tyler Walker will run around and make things happen if he gets the nod over Dexter Blackstock. Dexter Blackstock won't run around and make things happen. Ben Osborn would make you fall in love with him but he's injured. David Vaughan is decent on his day and Oliver Burke is very very fast.

6. You tired of Matt Mills' aimless high balls that sail hopelessly out of play yet?

Ah, Matt Mills. Many see him as a decent acquisition - experienced, strong and no-nonsense. To be fair to him, he's looked all of those things thus far. In terms of his distribution, he fits right in with our defence in hoisting aimless high balls that sail hopelessly out of play.

7. You tired of Matt Mills screaming at youngsters after one of his aimless high balls sails hopelessly out of play yet?

Tyler Walker is still in the mode of desperately trying to chest down those aimless high balls but give him time and he'll start looking Mills in the eye and gesturing towards his feet.

8. We already know the answer to this, but what type of ‘football' will Forest try and play on Saturday?

Give it to Antonio.

If Antonio doesn't play, we might knock it long to Blackstock in the vain hope that he'll hold it up for Lansbury to latch onto from midfield and shoot from range.

If Blackstock doesn't play, we might knock it long to Tyler Walker in the vain hope that he'll hold it up for Lansbury to latch onto from midfield and shoot from range.

There is a slight chance that Walker, Grant and Burke will knit neat and pretty triangles together with Lansbury and Vaughan bossing the midfield in order to produce a whole new brand of football.

9. What would be a ‘successful' season for you?

The transfer embargo is highly likely to last beyond January. Our three most effective players are currently our injured - Andy Reid, Chris Cohen and Britt Assombalonga - and have been for a while so if/when they do come back, they might not be the players they were. In that context, mid-table would be successful.

But the squad is decent and if Antonio not only stays but also gets over it, there is a chance of coming mightily close to the play-offs but missing out.

If we can get to the end of the season with Freedman still in charge, it would mean that we have not flirted with relegation and we'd have a degree of stability - that would be successful.

10. What do you reckon of Bolton this year?

Sadly for you, I think you may struggle. Like Freedman, Lennon is operating under very difficult circumstances and it seems like you are a breath away from financial meltdown. In many ways, there's a lot of similarities between our clubs at the moment so we should all take a moment to form a circle and hold hands.

11. Which Bolton player worries you going into the game?

Zach Clough belongs with us.

Forest are the type of club who will allow Emile Heskey to notch a rare goal.

12. Finally, what's your prediction for the match?

Frankly, I have no idea. We are improving but I can't see us scoring goals, especially if Antonio is ‘injured' and also Jamie Ward went off injured on Tuesday.

This might be the game in which our kids come of age. But equally, it might well be the game in which our shortcomings are exposed and we get schooled by a very average (sorry) team.

Another 2-2.

You can follow David on Twitter @InTheTopOne_