Nottingham Forest face Swansea City this weekend knowing that three points are an absolute must.

The Reds are currently three points adrift of the top-six but with several teams to overcome, they can ill-afford any more disappointments.

(Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

The Swans have lost their last three games in all competitions, but did lead Manchester City 2-0 in the FA Cup last time out, before cruelly succumbing 3-2.

Ahead of Swansea’s trip to the City Ground, we caught up with Andy Morgan who follows his hometown club from exile in Leeds and the ardent Welshman gave us the lowdown on Saturday’s opponents.

Seat Pitch: How would you assess Graham Potter’s first season in charge of the club?

Andy Morgan: I don’t think he could have done much more, particularly given the hand he’s been dealt. The biggest thing is that he’s brought back the style of play that we were renowned for in our rise through the leagues, and we’re fun to watch again.  He’s blooded a few of the under 23’s, such as Dan James and Joe Rodon, and transformed players like Matt Grimes. To be sitting in mid-table, given the exodus of players and the amount of inexperienced players he’s had to work with, is a testament to him as a coach and gets a lot of our fans excited for what he could achieve with just a bit of backing from above.

(Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

SP: It would appear that he’s been forced to work amid some boardroom uncertainties, what’s been going on upstairs?

AM: Where to begin?! The two main American owners, Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan, bought the club boasting they had the funds to make us competitive on and off the pitch. We’ve not seen any sign of that, just players leaving, and players being bought for ridiculous amounts (if anyone else thinks Sam Clucas is worth £17m then I’d love to know). Since relegation, we’ve sold, released or loaned something like 17 players, and brought six in – with only one of those playing regularly.

Dan James was all set to go to Leeds, with the owners jumping at the first sniff of money, despite the fact he would have probably signed a new contract if he’d been offered one.  The chairman at the time, Huw Jenkins, blocked the transfer at the eleventh hour by basically not answering the phone to Leeds. He resigned a few days later, and we’ve just appointed Trevor Birch, who has a history of working for clubs needing to get their finances in order. Fans are fearing more players going out in the summer, and not much coming in the other direction. There’s zero trust in the current owners.

(Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

SP: On the pitch, it’s been something of an inconsistent campaign. What was the objective at the start of the season?

AM: Personally, I just wanted to get the enjoyment back.  The last few years in the Premier League were a slog.  It’s the holy grail for so many, but after a few years of progression and getting into Europe, we lost our way.  You watch football with the hope your club might achieve something.  In the Premier League, the majority of clubs just want to finish 17th, take the money, and do the same again.  We got into that rut and it was like death by a thousand cuts. We’ve come down, got our playing style back, and are competitive at this level.  We’ve been inconsistent, but that was always likely with a pretty inexperienced and thin squad.  Hopefully, this is the foundation to kick-on in the next couple of years and challenge in the top half. Whether Potter will get that backing or not, is another thing.

(Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

SP: What do you know about Nottingham Forest?

AM: Not a huge amount to be honest – they’ve been in that mid-table obscurity with us for a lot of the season.  I know there was a lot of optimism at the start of the year with some Portuguese signings and a proven Championship manager in Aitor Karanka. But it just doesn’t seem to have happened, for whatever reason.  Martin O’Neill seems like a nostalgic appointment, possibly a decade too late. I watched his Ireland side play Wales in the last few years and they were dire to watch. It’ll be interesting to see what he can do if he sticks around, as he’s obviously been a good club manager in the past.

SP: Who do we need to keep an eye on this afternoon?

AM: Dan James is getting a lot of the headlines at the moment, and rightly so.  His pace is frightening and he’ll be on a high after scoring the winner for Wales last weekend.  Bersant Celina is technically a joy to watch, and a lot of our attacking play goes through him.  Matt Grimes is probably our player of the year – he’s unspectacular but a 7 or 8 out of 10 most weeks.

(Photo by Kevin Barnes – CameraSport via Getty Images)

SP: Which player would you happily drive to his next club?

AM: I’d probably drive Barrie McKay, given he’s been everything Forest fans said he would be when he signed. But I would carry Leroy Fer on my back to his next club.  I still don’t know what he’s good at, and he’s been with us for a few years now.  He’s injured and his contract expires in the summer, and the thought of never seeing him in a Swansea shirt again is delightful.

(Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images)

SP: You can include one Forest player in Swansea’s team for this afternoon, who do you select?

AM: We’ve pretty much played with one striker all year, given the lack of investment in the squad.  Oli McBurnie has really stepped up but has struggled with illness and injury recently.  Lewis Grabban’s got a decent scoring record this year, so I’d probably take him.

(Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images)

SP: Finally, what will the score be?

AM: I think with home advantage and the fact Forest have still got a sniff for a play-off place, I’d probably expect the Tricky Trees to take the three points – 2-1 to Forest.

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