Stuart Pearce confident he can handle the pressure ahead of Nottingham Forest return next season

Pearce was announced as Forest's new manager from July 1 and the former left-back does not fear he will tarnish his reputation if he doesn't succeed at the City Ground

Stuart Pearce is confident he has the mental toughness to cope with being a returning hero.

It is not a phrase Pearce would use but there is no escaping the fact that the former Reds captain remains a cult figure at Forest - a club for whom he made over 500 appearances as a player during a 12-year stay, twice winning the League Cup under Brian Clough.

He also had a spell as caretaker boss during the 1996-97 season following the departure of Frank Clark.

The 51-year-old made an emotional return to the City Ground on Thursday as he was confirmed as the club's next manager.

Pearce will take up his role as Billy Davies' permanent successor in the summer after signing a two-year contract.

There is an old adage that you should never go back.

Asked if there was a fear he may tarnish his reputation and popularity amongst Forest fans, Pearce responded by recalling when he was thrust into the role of caretaker 17 years ago.

"I can remember my time as caretaker," said the former England left-back. "I can remember I was about to leave for training on a Friday morning and the phone rings.

"They said Frank Clark had left and could I manage the team for the next two games? We were bottom of the league and the next two games were against Arsenal, the champions, and Manchester United at home on Boxing Day. They were two big games.

"The dynamic of myself in the dressing room changed, as you can imagine.

"Does it daunt you or put you off? In fact I quite like it. I like the pressures that heap on me because I feel like I have the personality and demeanour for it.

"Does it bring the best out of me? I think so. That's why I step up and take penalties. That's why I put myself forward as a manager.

"If people have nice things to say about me then that's very nice. But what I did as a player is totally irrelevant. I want to make Fawaz (Al-Hasawi, the owner and chairman) very proud of me.

"The only thing I strive for is to be better tomorrow than I am today. That's all you strive for in management or your personal life. If you keep striving I think you have a chance.

"If I keep getting better, I think I can make an influence on those around me and make the club better.

"I would not suggest I'm a standalone but I have a strong mentality. But in many ways I come from a slightly unique background maybe where even when I stepped into the professional game I knew what I left behind."

Pearce turned down the job for personal reasons last week following initial talks.

However, with a club so close to his heart calling for him, he was persuaded by Al-Hasawi to resurrect discussions.

A compromise was reached for him to begin in the role in the summer and for academy manager Gary Brazil to continue on an interim basis for the remainder of the season.


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