Even the most optimistic Nottingham Forest fan would agree it has been a turbulent few weeks at the City Ground. Just last week Steve McClaren was rumoured to have been on the brink of exit following frustrations with the lack of signings in the transfer market, and fans were worried it could spell disaster for the remainder of the season. However the tides of the River Trent could still turn in the coming weeks but that is not dependent on McClaren himself, but the infamous transfer acquisitions panel.
Last week’s McClaren quit rumours were soon ousted following crisis talks with chairman Nigel Doughty when the ex-England boss, seemingly rather reluctantly, agreed to voice his ambitions to stay at the club and help guide the Reds to the Premier League while still admitting his aggravations.
The notion conjured up in the press was that McClaren was guaranteed loan signings, three Premier League quality players to be precise. The 93-day emergency loan window swung open today and McClaren is believed to be hot on the heels of a few much-needed stars already.
Danny Collins is one of the names that has been thrown into the transfer-panel mixer. The 31-year-old defender was on the bench for Wales as they lost 1-0 to England at Wembley last night and McClaren is hoping the Forest panel agree to pay his £25,000-a-week wages to land the full back ahead of Ipswich. Tony Pulis is keen for Collins to get game time elsewhere and has not featured the former Sunderland man in his 25-man Premier League squad.
However, the man who is at the top of McClaren’s wanted list is former Forest loanee Ryan Bertrand, who had a spell at the City Ground last season. The Chelsea left-back has yet to be given a squad number for the Champions League and is believed to be falling out of favour with Blues boss Andre Villas-Boas. During his time with the Reds previously Bertrand found fine form and along with Collins could help bolster a lacking Forest defence who have let in eight goals in their first five Championship games.
The latest player to catch the eye of McClaren is Baggies starlet Craig Dawson. The 21-year-old can also play at left-back and is a hot prospect for the future having already featured for the England U21s. He is also keen on Spurs winger Andros Townsend, the 20-year-old was on loan at Millwall last season and would fit in perfectly with McClaren’s style of play which includes using width to break down opposition. However it is not clear whether Townsend would prefer to remain in the London area.
The loan window will remain open until January, but as McClaren and Forest fans are well aware the players need to come immediately if this Forest team are to have any hope of challenging in the Championship, a league that has this season become more difficult than ever before.
The board must keep in mind that the bottom line is McClaren may walk if loanees fail to enter through the doors of the City Ground over the next few weeks, and few Reds fans would blame him.