Steve McClaren's relationship with the Nottingham Forest board is showing early signs of strain after the former England manager questioned the Championship club's ambition and warned that a "long season" lies ahead unless further signings are made in the next couple of days.
McClaren has made a less than inspiring start at Forest, where he has picked up five points from five matches since replacing Billy Davies as manager in the summer. Sunday's 4-1 home defeat against West Ham United was particularly painful as Forest's defensive shortcomings were exposed by one of the promotion favourites.
After picking through the wreckage of that result, McClaren turned the focus on to the Forest board and urged them to make the signings that he believes are vital to mount a promotion challenge. He has brought in five players this summer – Jonathan Greening, George Boateng, Andy Reid, Ishmael Miller and Matt Derbyshire – but is adamant that more arrivals are needed if Forest are to have a chance of reaching the Premier League.
"What happens over the next few days will decide whether we can win promotion or not. Absolutely it will, without a shadow of a doubt," McClaren said. "What we do now, over the next few days, will determine whether we are good enough to challenge or whether we are scrapping to get into the play-offs. I don't want that. So, I will be making it quite clear what we need. Deliver it or it is going to be a long season.
"We have been saying it for long enough. You [the press] say that Billy Davies was saying it for two years previously, I don't know about that. But I can see it. Over the next few days, we will see the ambition of this club. That is the key thing we will see. We need to go the extra step now."
Although the Forest board are likely to be disappointed that McClaren is following a similar line to Davies by questioning transfer activity at the City Ground, it is understood the club are hopeful of making at least one signing in the next 48 hours. Ryan Bertrand, the 22-year-old Chelsea left-back who spent five months on loan at Forest at the start of last season, could return for a second loan spell to solve what has been a problem position.
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