Nottingham Forest manager Dougie Freedman was quick to dampen speculation about a late play-off push following the Tricky Trees’ latest win over Bolton.
The 4-1 success was their third in four games under the Scot, but he wasted little time in suggesting the end-of-season knockouts were beyond his men, telling the Nottingham Post:
“I do genuinely think they [the play-off places] are too far away, yes,”
“I can give you a fantastic quote that would give you a headline, saying that we can do it, if you like… but I am an honest guy and I think they are a little bit far away for us.”
Yet, despite Freedman’s reticence, he proved during his tenure at Bolton Wanderers that overhauling the 12-point gap that currently stands between Forest and the final play-off berth is a realistic aim.
Having ditched Crystal Palace to take over the Trotters in October 2012, he found himself 12 points off sixth spot with 32 games played, just as Forest do now.
Come the end of the campaign they lost out on a ticket for the four-way winner-takes-all on goal difference.
Not only that but they’d made it into the play-off places with four games to spare, only to let their position slip away with consecutive draws in the final two games.
Prior to his time at the Macron Stadium, Freedman had already tasted the fruits of a belated, sustained and ultimately successful surge to sixth as a Palace player.
Having been 19th at Christmas, the Eagles gobbled up the deficit to win the Wembley decider under Iain Dowie’s inimitable stewardship.
As such the Scot’s insistence that “if the teams in fifth and six keep winning matches, the games will very quickly run out for us” comes laden with pressure-applying implications for those currently above Forest in the table.
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