Billy's Nottingham Forest are full of fight
THE return of Billy Davies has left Nottingham Forest players believing that there is still plenty to fight for this season, says Simon Cox.
But the striker is also convinced that, even if the Reds don't secure a top-six finish this season, they will be a force to be reckoned with after the manager has a chance to stamp his influence on the squad this summer.
Davies' unbeaten start since returning to the City Ground continued last night, as a late goal from Lewis McGugan helped them to a 1-0 win over Ipswich, who ended the match with nine players after having two players sent off.
And Cox says there is still plenty to play for in the remaining matches, with Forest finally fulfilling their potential in the last few weeks.
"The season is not over yet," he said. "If it was to finish now and we were not in the play-offs, with the changes in manager we have had, with the turnaround we have had in backroom staff and with the hierarchy, yes, you might say that we had still possibly underachieved.
"But it is not finished and, under this manager, under this regime and with the confidence we have got... let's see where we are at the end of the season.
"If we don't make the play-offs, we will go again next season and next season will be completely different because we will have a settled manager, he will bring in his players over the summer and we will be a force.
"If we don't do it this year, we will be a force next year. We believe that."
Cox says Forest must remain focused on continuing the improvement they have shown over the past month or so.
"We have as much chance as anyone who is outside of the play-off positions at the minute, when you look at the way we are playing," he said. "But we need to keep our feet on the ground, we just need to go about our business quietly and see where we finish at the end of the day."
Last night's result extended Forest's unbeaten run to five games. But, while Cox hopes they can extend that form for as long as possible, he says it is important the squad realise it is not the end of the world if they do suffer a slip-up between now and the end of the campaign.
"The likelihood is that we will not go from now until the end of the season unbeaten," said Cox, who produced a man-of-the-match performance last night in the narrow win. "We still have to play Cardiff, Middlesbrough, Burnley, Hull – we have to play some big teams who will be a big test for us.
"We are not naive enough to think that we are going to go unbeaten entirely, through to the end of the season.
"But it is about putting in performances; about keeping a run going for as long as we can – but if we lose a game or two along the way, we cannot be downhearted about it. If it happens, we just have to move on to the next game and focus on performing again."