Bolton Wanderers take on Nottingham Forest tomorrow at the Reebok in what is bound to be an exciting game of professional football between two sides with great history and tradition. One is perhaps the most well-regarded and esteemed club in the history of the game, boasting a fine European tradition from times gone by under the stewardship of perhaps the greatest English managers of all time - and the other is Nottingham Forest.
That's enough about football.
We're here to talk about Dougie Freedman. The former Bolton boss makes his first return to the ground where he served as manager between 2012 and 2014, and he is sure of a warm welcome from his former supporters.
Freedman was a failure at Bolton Wanderers. His apologists - and there are some around - will bore you for hours about FFP and about he balanced the books. These people are missing the picture.
Dougie arrived at Bolton and, to his credit, restored confidence and balance to a team decimated by the tactical stylings of Owen Coyle. It was the next bit that caused all the bother. Freedman alienated the fans, ostracised important players and made more bizarre signings than Harry Redknapp could in a thousand deadline days. His departure from the club was met with cries of joy and, let's not forget, a tannoy announcement at the local ASDA.
Whilst it is tough to argue that the club have improved since his dismissal, it is, though, without question that Bolton have appointed a superior manager in his replacement Neil Lennon. Results on the field have been somewhat mixed to say the least - with both managers sharing a similar win ratio - but it is off the field that the club have moved forward.
A more coherent transfer strategy has been employed - ie. we stopped bringing in everyone we could from Crystal Palace - and there is, despite early season results - been an air of confidence around the club sadly missing from the tail end of Dougie's reign. His decision to leave out current terrace darling Zach Clough and midfield dynamo Josh Vela in place of Joe fucking Mason and Owen Garven continue to provoke debate.
I like to think we've moved on, but I know deep down we haven't.
This is one of those games that I look forward to immensely - until they start. Then I'll be nervous as sin until the final whistle blows and until we have secured victory over Mr Freedman and his charges.
I'm not even going to mention Matt Mills - because he doesn't deserve it.
This is going to be a very stressful 90mins for all concerned.
In teams news, the Whites could Arsenal loanee Wellington Silva his debut but are likely to be without new defender Francesco Pisano, who joined on Thursday. , may have to wait before playing his first game for the club. Dean Moxey should overcome a foot injury but skipper Darren Pratley (ankle) is definitely out.
Forest themselves have injury concerns as star hipster bellend Henri Lansbury, hobbit Jamie Ward and someone called Dexter Blackstock all have knocks. Their own loan signing this week, former Arsenal man Kyle Ebecilio could start - but knowing Dougie he'll probably play a defender in midfield anyway.
Match Facts (Thanks to BBC)
- Bolton are winless in six against Nottingham Forest, though four have ended in a draw (L2).
- Forest have won just one of their last 11 games in league competition (D3 L7).
- Henri Lansbury has scored two and assisted one more in four appearances against Bolton for Forest.
- David Vaughan has been booked in all three games so far this term; a joint-high alongside Leeds' Sol Bamba.
- The Trotters have seen red in three of their last five meetings with the Tricky Trees.
- Bolton are without a win in their last eight league games (D3 L5), failing to score in the last five.
What Has Been Said
Dougie Freedman: "I like to bring through young players, I do it all the time...I don't like to sign players from old clubs...I'm working in difficult circumstances...It's fine margins...I thought we deserved something."
Neil Lennon: "It shouldn't have any effect whatsoever' - With regards to Dougie coming back. ‘...after the MK Dons result it should make it imperative we get something out of this game regardless of the outside storylines to it. I'm not concentrating on that at all."
Bolton 25-0 Nottingham Forest