FREEDMAN: I AM HERE TO STAY
NOTTINGHAM Forest boss Dougie Freedman confidently predicted ‘I will be here in August’ after demolishing his accident-hit former employers.
Less than 72 hours after chairman Fawaz-Al-Hasawi revealed the former Bolton manager had penned only an initial threemonth deal, Freedman’s team took their impressive goal tally to 14 in his first four games.
Neil Lennon’s men lost defender Tim Ream (back) and goalkeeper Andy Lonergan (head and neck) to serious-looking injuries as well as having Matt Mills sent off as they were demolished by a rejuvenated Forest
Freedman said: “There are clauses in my contract to protect both sides, which are mainly of a financial nature… I will be here in August.
“There is a big, big gap to the play-offs but we have to go out and win football matches and see where that takes us.
“We deserved our win. For the first 25 minutes we were outstanding and could have had more than two goals.
“I want us to play with a tempo and get the balance right between defending and attacking.
“I’ve switched things around top help our attacking players such as (Chris) Burkey and (Michail) Antonio.
“The chairman has spent a lot of money and brought in a lot of very good players who are a joy to work with.”
Slow starters under Stuart Pearce, Forest roared out of the blocks to all but blast the visitors away inside the opening 17 minutes.
A slip from Flip Twardzik allowed Burke to fasten onto an ambitious crossfield ball from Henri Lansbury after eight minutes.
Andy Lonergan superbly saved the winger’s first shot only for Burke to react quickest to volley high into the net.
Fellow winger Antonio had also signalled his lightening intentions before scoring a fabulous second in the 17th minute. His slalom-style run enabled him to hurdle a succession of challenges before he blasted right footed past Lonergan from inside the area.
Bolton needed two brilliant last gasp interventions to prevent Forest from doubling their lead. Lonergan reacted excellently to claw away a Lansbury header then Liam Feeney somehow deflected a Ben Osborn shot over the bar.
Tim Ream’s injury when he collided with a post trying to stop the Forest cavalry from a free kick was a further blow for Bolton, who surprisingly pulled a goal back deep into first half injury time as Zach Clough’s driving run was halted by a foul by Danny Fox and Adam Le Fondre blasted past Karl Darlow.
Bolton’s hopes of a revival were then hit by a savage blow two minutes after the break when Mills hauled down Antonio for a second time and was sent off. Former England striker Emile Heskey was employed as an emergency centre back for part of the half which got worse for Bolton when Lonergan flattened Dexter Blackstock.
After a near ten-minute delay, Lansbury slotted in his sixth goal in as many games from the spot.
Burke, who looks a completely different force under Freedman, then gleefully drove in a fourth as the other winger Antonio was appealing for yet another spot kick.
Lennon’s number two Johan Mjallby said: “We have a nasty habit of putting ourselves into trouble with mistake after mistake after mistake.
“We need to stop it or we could get dragged back into a relegation battle. My pride is hurt. We usually look a threat going forward but we’re having to score three or four goals to get a point.
“The penalty gave us a lifeline but we shot ourselves in the foot again with the sending off.
“I don’t know how serious the injuries are but neither will be playing any part on Tuesday.”
SPOT ON: Henri Lansbury scores Forest’s third goal Inset: Michail Antonio and Chris Burke celebrate