Forest boss says it takes more than money to win promotion ahead of Leicester clash
TOMORROW, two of the biggest spending sides outside of the Premier League will face off at the King Power Stadium.
But, while the game will be billed as a clash between the Championship's most affluent clubs, Sean O'Driscoll's outlook remains decidedly different.
The Nottingham Forest manager admits it 'frightens' him, when he considers how much money is spent on players, even outside of the top flight.
But O'Driscoll also believes that a price tag alone should not dictate what is expected of a player.
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Forest and the Foxes have both spent big in an effort to assemble a squad that is capable of making the step up into the Premier League.
But O'Driscoll knows full well that it is not just the big money signings – in Forest's case, the likes of Simon Cox, Henri Lansbury, Adlene Guedioura and Billy Sharp – who make a team tick.
Today, one of the first names on the Forest team sheet is likely to be that of Simon Gillett, a player snapped up on a free transfer over the summer by O'Driscoll, after being released by newly-relegated Doncaster.
And O'Driscoll says it is players like the midfielder who will provide the foundations for any promotion push.
"Sometimes you need some glue in your side to bring things together and that is what he was from the start," said O'Driscoll. "He has proved to be a really good asset to the club.
"There are one or two others (potential signings) who, when we looked at it, people were reluctant to sanction, because they weren't names, basically.
"But sometimes you have to build a team and then add the names to it.
"They are the icing on the cake, the people who can benefit from what the team does. That process is ongoing. We need to make sure that culture stays in the club.
"Everything is so short term these days. You are not going to get a consistent team or a consistent squad, because you are always going to lose people.
"You are not going to get consistency in managers and coaches because the average tenure of a manager these days is about 14 months."
O'Driscoll hopes he can be the man to bring some stability to Forest. But he is not naive enough to take his job security – in the long-term future – for granted.
"People say they want stability in football, they talk about that – but when it comes down to it, they don't do it," he said.
"You can get consistency and consistency into the culture of a club. You can put that in place.
"When this team was really successful, they had that kind of culture. Back then, it was driven by one man.
"Manchester United have had the same thing with Alex Ferguson. That is not going to happen again.
"One person cannot do it any more. The principles are the same, but you recruit people who can do it for you.
"Then, when you go, when you move on, that culture will still be there, within the club.
"It makes common sense to work this way, but common sense is not always there in football, I am afraid."
Nor does O'Driscoll believe there is much logic to the transfer market in England, where valuations of players are based on simple opinion.
"It is about getting the right players, the right blend, the right balance – and that does not always mean signing the most expensive player," he said. "At Leicester, Nigel (Pearson) has had time to look at that; he has experience of putting sides together and he will have enjoyed spending a little bit of money.
"Spending money gives you more options, it can help you be consistent in an inconsistent division.
"If I am honest, I try not to think about the money, because it frightens me to death. I just have to scratch my head and consider that we are in an industry that does not make sense.
"Why is one person worth this and another worth that? I don't understand it. But it is what it is. There is no logic to it. It is just the way things are. What somebody pays for somebody is just what they are prepared to pay.
"Whether you have billions to spend or whether you have nothing, the things that matter in football stay the same. They are always the make or break things, if you are going to be successful.
"You look at attitude, honesty, commitment, trust... all those things. If you can get them right, if people understand what you want, then you will be successful."
Tomorrow, Forest must find a way to fill the void left by Radi Majewski, who will be sidelined for "months" with an ankle injury.
And O'Driscoll admits finding that flexibility may be their most difficult challenge.
"We played Simon Cox on the right a little bit more against Middlesbrough, purely because George Friend, their left-back, is one of their most effective weapons," he said.
"That worked really well, Simon did that really well. All of a sudden, we found something that worked.
"That gives us another option – but these are things that you would normally look at early in pre-season.
"But we are playing, we do not have a lot of time to prepare these things. You can look at things in training and hope that it will work, but you don't know until you try it out in a game.
"We have had to look at every game and ask 'what is the best team for this game?'.
"But then you also have to debate whether you want to keep swapping and changing your team. You are always caught in that dilemma. The players don't like it when you chop and change, I don't like it.
"We are back to that scenario now. The team was flexible with Radi in the team, because he was so flexible. We could do various different things, depending on how the game was going.
"We cannot really do that now. We have to find another way."
As O'Driscoll well knows, there are some problems that money alone cannot solve.