'I am trying to change a whole mentality' - Freedman

BOTH Dougie Freedman and Billy Davies have something more in common than their profession and city of birth.

The two Glaswegians go head to head tomorrow at the City Ground, leading clubs whose rich history has sometimes proved a hindrance rather than a help to the men in charge.

Davies was sworn in this week 20 months since being sacked by Forest’s previous regime.

The former Preston and Derby coach had twice led his side to the play-offs only to fail at the final hurdle. And that Forest have failed to return to the big time since dropping out of the Premier League at the start of the millennium only seems to accentuate the achievements in the golden years under the legendary Brian Clough.

Freedman’s ghosts are even more fresh. Since Sam Allardyce left the Reebok so abruptlyin 2007, Sammy Lee, Gary Megson and Owen Coyle all failed to hit the same heights at a club that has been forced to change with the times.

The current Wanderers boss still faces a stiff challenge to change the fortunes and mentality at a club where the league position has been on the slide for three seasons.

But, like Davies, the Scot is intent on concentrating on the future, rather than past glories.

“That’s what fans have got to learn to live with,” he said. “It’s what I am trying to do here – I am trying to change things.

“It takes time. I am trying to change the way we play – entertain the crowd with possession, and score goals through the control of the game.

“I am trying to change a whole mentality, but it does take time.

“I believe you can never look back – and that applies to Nottingham Forest fans, Manchester City fans, Bolton Wanderers fans, or whoever.

“The good coaches are always looking forward and that is what I am trying to do. “I can’t comment on what Forest are doing, but certainly at my club I am trying to concentrate on the future, rather than what happened in the past.

“It isn’t about what happened five years ago, it is about how we are playing? Have we got new players in the team? Are there young players coming through?

“Looking forward is the challenge I have got.”

Freedman knows all about Forest, having played for the club for two seasons, the last of which was their most recent spell in the top flight.

He is still well regarded in the East Midlands after scoring 23 goals during his time at the City Ground before moving on to the second of his three spells at Crystal Palace.

Tomorrow’s game has been billed as Davies’s homecoming, but Freedman does not expect his fellow Scot’s return to have a significant impact on the pitch “I’m sure the majority of fans quite liked him for what he did for them,” he said. “I’m sure he’ll get a clap before the whistle. “But once the whistle goes, it doesn’t matter whether you are a new manager or an old manager. “You prepare your players for what I think will be a very close and tactical game, and one that both teams will be trying to edge their way for a win.”

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