Steve McClaren admits he might have underestimated the size of the task facing him at Nottingham Forest. His side have won only one of their first seven Championship matches since the former England head coach arrived at the City Ground in the summer.
McClaren says his time in charge of the East Midlands club has been among the most frustrating periods of his managerial career. And he admits Forest badly need a new signing to lift spirits and bolster the squad after a dismal home defeat on Saturday to Derby County which left the Reds languishing in the relegation zone.
Ahead of tonight's home tie against Newcastle in the Carling Cup third round, McClaren said: "I knew it was going to be difficult. I said before that it was a work in progress, I should have said that it was a lot of work in progress.
"Frustrating is a good word. I have been frustrated every day since the first day I came here. It has been the tradition for this club in recent years to start slowly, but we have already highlighted the reasons why that has happened in the past. We have not addressed that this season and now the club has had another slow start."
Newcastle United's winger Hatem Ben Arfa will return to action tonight having not made a competitive appearance for the Magpies since 3 October last year when he suffered a double leg fracture at Manchester City. He missed the start of this campaign with an ankle problem picked up on the club's pre-season trip to the United States.
Davide Santon was in London yesterday to have fluid drained from his injured knee in an attempt to avoid surgery. The 20-year-old Italian, who had been in line to make his first-team debut for Newcastle at Aston Villa on Saturday, damaged his right knee in training last week, and there were fears that he could be missing for a month.
However, manager Alan Pardew is keeping his fingers crossed that he could return to training within days. He said: "He has gone to London and will have his knee drained of a little bit of fluid that's on it, and then we are hoping that he will train.
"If that does not work, probably at some stage we will have to look at some keyhole surgery in there to make sure that this fluid problem does not appear again."
Santon's absence is a blow for Pardew, who signed him from Internazionale to replace Jose Enrique following the Spaniard's controversial move to Liverpool. Utility man Ryan Taylor has been filling in at left-back, and has proved capable, but it remains to be seen whether he gets a rest at the City Ground tonight.Reuse content