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Question Time: Nottingham Forest vs Bolton Wanderers with David Marples

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In the Top One's David Marples tells us we are going to lose.

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Euripides' three act structure was a story arc used in most Greek tragedies. Currently, the Bolton/Freedman tale is in the second act. The first act was Freedman's reign of terror, which some would say it's quite tame in comparison to our current situation. The inciting event in the second act was our 4-1 defeat last season and our 1-1 draw, courtesy of a last minute Stephen Dobbie equaliser, was our 2nd plot point. Today, we move to the third act, were the resolution and climax takes place. Or so you'd think.

But this isn't an episode of the Simpsons, Bolton's performances are more laughable than that, this is football. So, SB Nation brother in arms In the Top One sent David Marples to break the bad news to us.

How is your season going?

That depends on where you stand. On the one hand, firmly ensconced in mid table while under a fairly lengthy transfer embargo and enduring the mother of all elongated injury crises to key players represents a very decent effort from all concerned. On the other hand, the squad still has more than a whiff of quality about it and tactical negativity is holding the team back from achieving its potential. That's the thing about football though, isn't it? It seems that it's got to be one or the other yet quite frequently, the truth lies betwixt and between two extremes.

How is our old pal Freedman doing?

Again, fans seem a bit divided on this one. He speaks well and genuinely seems to have the club's interest at heart. Even his most hardened critics would admit that he's performed admirably in the transfer market, bringing in some quality without paying a penny in fees: Daniel Pinillos, Matt Mills (yeah...I know), Gary Gardner, Jonny Williams and (occasionally) Nelson Oliveira. His latest recruit, Bojan Jokic, also looks like a very good piece of business. After a very tricky and winless period at the start of the season, he has steadied the ship and made us into a very difficult team to to beat.

Can you imagine what'll happen in life after Freedman or is he not going anywhere?

What happens in the summer is anyone's guess. Assuming we finish mid table and objective achieved, we have a lot of players out of contract and a lot of expired loan periods with which to contend. It's highly likely that we will be free from our transfer embargo too. It remains to be seen whether Dougie will be trusted by Fawaz to start spending like a mad man. Whatever happens, it will be an interesting summer in that respect.

At the same time, he does make some very odd substitutions and tactical decisions at times which could easily be interpreted as sitting back and holding on to any point that looks like being won - no matter how measly it may be.

Do you think a chairman like Fawaz Al-Hasawi helps or hinders Forest?

That's a huge question, about which lots of words, sentences, paragraphs and hot air have been produced. The short version is that he could be a huge help if he just listened to advice from someone who has experience of running a club. It is difficult to explain how a club with such mighty financial backing at its disposal is currently not allowed to spend it - which suggests that the money which has already been spent hasn't been chucked towards the right places. His heart seems to be in the right place and he's been a little quieter recently - not sure if that's a good or bad thing come to think of it.

In short, we are no better off in terms of league position than when he took the reins. Off the pitch, let's just say the picture is unclear.

How is Antonio doing in these cold, cold winters?

After a slow start and being trolled by his owner on Twitter, he's doing alright now. That goal against Liverpool where he won the ball deep in his own half and then pegged it up the field to power in a header was classic Antonio. His power, pace and shooting caused chaos in the Championship - as you full well know - but many doubted (myself included) whether such attributes were enough to trouble Premier League defences. It turns out that they may well be.

Any memorable stories from past Bolton and Forest games?

I recall going to Burnden Park early in September 1993 - the season in which we clambered out of the Championship at the first time of asking to get back to the Premier League. Although we lost 4-3, the game was a belter and featured a thunderbastard from David Phillips and saw a young man called Stan Collymore finding his feet. From this game on, we were pretty much unstoppable.


His first goal in this game is classic Collymore - he scored about a hundred exactly like this one:

Who do we watch out for?

Chris O'Grady - he's quite tall - you can't miss him. You mean in terns of being a danger to your team? Oh, in that case, little Benny Osborn is growing into his role on the left hand side of midfield and if young Oliver Burke starts (and I have a strong suspicion that he will), look out for his pace - if your eyes can track such fast objects that is. There's also some guy at the back by the name of Mills who has been pretty steady and is our second top scorer.

Predictions for the game?

Everything points towards a home win to be honest with you but we really can't score more than one goal and that's rarely enough to seal the deal. The smart money would be on a 1-1 draw but such a run of these can only go on for so long.

Where will you end up?

Roundabout where we are now - mid table - which sadly, was probably always the aim going in to the season.

Are we going down?

Almost definitely but not before you go on a bit of a run to give you just enough hope to start dreaming of survival until that very dream is shattered in to a million pieces at your feet by an unlucky concession of a last minute equaliser that sends you back down into a traumatic tailspin of a run. Sorry about that.

Firm but fair. Thanks to David for his responses, you can follow him here @InTheTopOne_