Q&A With Nottingham Forest

  • May 04, 2018 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/e13a8

Bolton's stay in the Championship looks set to end after just one season, but Phil Parkinson deserves the opportunity to guide them back next season.

Those are the views of Nottingham Forest supporter Michael Cleaver (@NFFCCleaver), who spoke to us ahead of Sunday's clash with Wanderers at Macron Stadium.

In the following Q&A interview, Michael shares his views on Forest's ambitions for next season under Aitor Karanka, the futures of on-loan duo Zach Clough and Tyler Walker, as well as why Parkinson deserves to retain his position regardless of which division the Trotters will find themselves in from August.

Q: It's been a mixed campaign for Forest, who at one point looked as though they could have been dragged into the relegation scrap. Form has steadily improved since Aitor Karanka's arrival as manager, however, and a mid-table finish is on the cards. With the summer break upon us, what are you expecting next season to bring?

A. I'm much more optimistic about next season. Under a manager like Karanka, I think every Forest fan is feeling excited and optimistic.

He got rid of most of the dead wood in the January transfer window, which was massively needed, and brought in some great players to steady the ship and stop the leaky defence.

We had been letting in so many goals, which was Mark Warbuton's downfall. His lack of understanding about the defence was awful.

We had a team that conceded 70-odd goals last season, nearly getting us relegated, and he didn't try to solve that issue. In the end, the problems didn't stop and it ended in another managerial change.

But, finally, we have an owner that looks like he cares about the club, unlike the previous one who treated it like a toy.

The summer transfer window will be interesting as Karanka has said there will be a lot of incomings and outgoings before the start of next season. Play-Offs or at least a top-half is a must if next season is to be the start of something great again at this club.

Q: Kieran Dowell has impressed during a season on loan from Everton, scoring 10 goals in 43 appearances, but looks set to miss out on the final day. In his absence, who do you think will step up as the visitors' key man?

A: Definitely Lee Tomlin or Joe Lolley.

Since that pair have come in, they have been fantastic. They are quality players in this league.

Ever since Karanka has been here, Dowell has been overlooked in the first-team and has had limited amount of game time, but when he has had his chance to show the manager he should be playing week in week out he's been poor and not playing at the level he was under Warbuton.

That is a shame because the lad definitely has potential to be a great player in the future, but only under the right manager. I can't see him being back at the club next season.

Q: Forest have found goals difficult to come by at times and will end the campaign with Zach Clough and Tyler Walker on loan with Wanderers. Both have struggled for game time at Macron Stadium, so what happens next?

A: Both had huge potential but, to date, haven't shown it.

They are definitely talented players - there's no doubt about that - but it will be tough for them to get into the first-team next season unless they really impress over pre-season.

I could see them being loaned out again next season to get more game time.

Q: Bolton go into the final day needing all three points to stand a chance of survival, but they come up against a team they haven't beaten in nine attempts dating back to 2001. With Phil Parkinson under the spotlight, how do you rate the job he has done and, should the club indeed be relegated, should he be retained as manager?

A: It's a shame you are in the situation you're in. Bolton is a massive club and it wasn't long ago you were in the Premier League.

Once a club gets relegated, it's very hard to get back there unless you have the finances and proper owners. Look at the likes of Sunderland. Their fans must be heartbroken seeing what's happening at their club.

I'd like to see Parkinson stay on as manager. It's hard to stay up in your first season in any league as there are better teams, but if the worst does happen I think you'll be back up next season.

Q: Wanderers were disappointing in the reverse fixture back in December - losing 3-2 at the City Ground. Based on that day, and any other action you may have seen since, who do you think stands out as our key man?

A: I saw Gary Madine was one of your best players and I couldn't believe the club sold him to Cardiff.

Adam Le Fondre is a good Championship player and could easily get you plenty of goals with the right players behind him. He'll be one to worry about on Sunday.

Q: Finally, what is your score prediction for Sunday's game?

A: I'll go for a 1-1 draw and hope results go your way.

Let's see what happens but this league is crazy and we can agree there will be a lot of twists and turns on the final day of the season.

I'm just glad it's not us playing to stay up like last season.

Football betting site Betway

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
19 Rochdale 34 36
20 AFC Wimbledon 35 35
21 Tranmere Rovers 34 32
22 Southend United 35 19
23 Bolton Wanderers 34 14
View Full Standings >>

Poll

Who is Bolton's 2018/19 Player of the Year?
34.62% Gary O'Neil
19.38% David Wheater
18.92% Pawel Olkowski
9.27% Joe Williams
5.33% Jason Lowe
4.13% Sammy Ameobi
2.85% Josh Magennis
2.75% Mark Beevers
1.19% Jack Hobbs
1.01% Ben Alnwick
0.28% Andrew Taylor
0.28% Craig Noone