Championship Preview: Freedman staying upbeat

Dougie Freedman is refusing to concede that Championship promotion is beyond Nottingham Forest as he prepares for his first match in charge at Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.

The former Bolton Wanderers manager was appointed on Sunday following the dismissal of Stuart Pearce, who presided over a dismal run of just three wins in 21 league outings.

A 1-0 home defeat to relegation-threatened Millwall proved the final straw for Pearce, as Forest - who looked destined to be promotion contenders earlier in the season - suffered a fifth defeat in six Championship games.

Although Forest sit in mid-table, only seven points ahead of the drop zone, Freedman has refused to write off a push for promotion, insisting no manager can take the job at Forest and accept mediocrity.

He told reporters: "When you are Nottingham Forest manager and you're asked if you can win promotion, you can never say 'no' as an answer. If anybody ever does say no, then they shouldn't be sitting here. 

"I'm not saying I'm a miracle worker but I am realistic and I am looking over my shoulder at the moment.

"We need to win football matches at the moment but I can never sit here as Nottingham Forest manager and say 'no'.

"Confidence is low. I'm not up on my stats about it but I know there haven't been many wins in the last few months, so that's understandable. 

"But there's many things you can do to change it. You can turn that around by managing players. Results do it too."

Forest's hosts on Saturday have had an even poorer season to date. Brighton sit just one place above the relegation zone, though they have produced a relative improvement recently, winning three of their last five in the Championship. 

Derby County - Forest's bitter rivals - continue their battle for the title at home to Bolton, with Steve McClaren boosted by the deadline day loan signings of Tom Ince from Hull City and Manchester United's Jesse Lingard.

Bournemouth go into the weekend ahead of Derby on goal difference at the top of the table and they head to second-from-bottom Wigan Athletic, while Middlesbrough will be looking to capitalise on any slip-ups from the top two when they host Charlton Athletic.

Wolves can extend their unbeaten run to nine league matches by avoiding defeat at home to Reading and Leeds United, without a loss in their last four, could potentially move eight points clear of the relegation zone with a win over fifth-placed Brentford.

Cardiff City make the trip to Sheffield Wednesday looking to stave off a fourth successive league reverse, while play-off hopefuls Norwich City entertain rock-bottom Blackpool.

Norwich's local rivals Ipswich Town sit three points off top spot ahead of their journey to Rotherham United and Watford, currently in the final play-off spot, welcome Blackburn Rovers to Vicarage Road.

In Saturday's other two contests, Birmingham City make their way to Fulham and struggling Millwall face Huddersfield Town at the Den.