Davies building a new monster in the Midlands

Nottingham Forest 5 Leicester City 1: Forest's manager uses every trick in the book to dampen down expectations, writes Ian Bayley
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The Independent Online

Billy Davies has a twinkle in his eye when he suggests he may one day write his book. It's difficult to judge whether the twinkle is one of mischief, or jest, but coming up with a title wouldn't be too challenging. "Monsters Inc.".

Monsters feature prominently in Davies's managerial career, and in his rhetoric. The Forest manager uses the word when he talks about the much-publicised problems he allegedly had with striker Robert Earnshaw during their ill-fated time at Derby together.

A monster was what Davies inadvertently created at Pride Park when he hauled Derby from the depths of the Championship into a Premiership adventure for which the club was hopelessly ill-prepared.

Now, back in the East Midlands, he is in the process of creating another potential monster at Forest, transforming a club which was heading down into League One when he took over in January into one now threatening to head out of the Championship in the opposite direction.

It's a remarkable parallel, though the trouble with monsters is that you can create them, but not necessarily control them. Davies remains keenly aware of the dangers of staggering forward blindly before you can walk, which is why he remains guarded about Forest's emergence as one the Championship's more vibrant teams.

"People talk about big-spending Forest, but if you look at the spending and the squad size, then you'll find we sit in about 10th or 11th place," he said. "I'm grateful to the board of directors for what they did in the summer, but the one thing I don't go along with is that this club is big-spending. I know what we carry. We have used 18 players and we have got a squad of 21 players.

"We are playing catch-up with other clubs and we are punching above our weight. We are a young side with good potential. We have exciting players, but we are not ready for promotion. I won't let anyone talk this team up or make them out to be something they are not. I've had the experience of watching a team get promoted and then watching what happens when you get there too early."

Davies will need to work hard to dampen down expectations after Forest routed Leicester to move into third place. Three of the goals, ironically, came from Earnshaw, a player with whom Davies was reported to have had a fractious relationship at Derby after signing him for £3.6m from Norwich in 2007.

Earnshaw failed to score in 10 Premiership games before Davies was sacked. They were reunited when Davies moved in at the City Ground, Earnshaw having been signed by previous boss Colin Calderwood.

Davies said: "I can genuinely state that Robert and I have never had a cross word. I have never had a problem with him whatsoever.

"People painted monsters during my time at Derby. People who were clearly trying to engineer the exit of the manager and a situation was created between Robert and myself which never existed. That will be chapter nine in my book." Forest's other goals came from Paul Anderson and substitute Dele Adebola. Leicester replied through Martyn Waghorn's second-half penalty, but manager Nigel Pearson endured his worst defeat since taking over.

Nottingham Forest: Camp, Gunter, Morgan, Wilson, Shorey,

Anderson (McCleary 70), McKenna, Majewski (Tyson 60), Cohen, Earnshaw, Blackstock (Adebola 66). Substitutes Not Used: Smith, Chambers, McGugan, McGoldrick.

Leicester: Weale, Neilson (Morrison 63), Brown, Hobbs, Berner, Oakley, King, Wellens, Kermorgant (Howard 28),

Fryatt (Dyer 36), Waghorn. Substitutes Not Used: Logan, McGivern, N'Guessan, Gallagher.

Referee: M Russell (Hertfordshire).

Booked: Nottingham Forest Cohen; Leicester Howard.

Man of the match: Earnshaw

Attendance: 28,626

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