Greg Halford has a clear vision of the future at Nottingham Forest under Billy Davies
HE may hail from Essex, rather than Yorkshire, but Greg Halford does have a certain northern frankness about him. In fact, he is about as blunt speaking as they come.
The Nottingham Forest player has clearly defined opinions – and he is not afraid to voice them.
Less than two weeks ago, following a limp defeat at Bristol City, Halford took to Twitter to offer what was as much an analysis as an apology, for those fans who had made the long journey to Ashton Gate.
"We have had no direction, no way of playing, no momentum, no passion and no heart for too long now. Thanks for your continued support of the team," he Tweeted.
As he looks back at that moment, he suggests it was a criticism of the team, rather than a barb aimed at any of the previous managers.
But, as a new era begins under Billy Davies, few of those criticisms remain, as Halford offers an analysis of what life has been like under the Scotsman, since he took charge in the days following that defeat in the south west.
"We have so many creative players. I don't think any other team in this league has more creative players than us," said Halford. "That is where my frustration came from after the Bristol City game.
"I am not finger pointing, nothing like that – but it was about the team.
"But things have changed now. We are getting towards a situation now where the manager is finding a way to get 100 per cent out of us, as a team.
"Out on the training field, he has brought passion and the will to win in training.
"Once you take that will to win from training, that goes into the games. That is what we have lacked, throughout the entire season.
"Training has not been as intense as it maybe should be. But now it is... and you can see it in game.
"There is a combative spirit in training now and that it translated into matches.
"If you don't track your runners, you can get punished. If you allow yourself to be done by a one-two, you can get punished.
"He has highlighted, in training, things like that. If you make a mistake in training, he points it out – and it is programmed into you, when it comes to matches."
Halford admits he had a certain kinship with previous boss Sean O'Driscoll, whose philosophies were popular in the Forest dressing room.
But there is certainly no mistaking his enthusiasm about playing under the live-wire character that is Davies.
"He wants perfection, as does everyone else. Previously, we were lacking that commitment, a little bit," said Halford. "It is that desire for perfection that drives him and it also drives us. He doesn't want mistakes.
"If you do manage to make the step up to the higher league in the future, if you make a mistake, you get punished every time.
"That is what he is trying to instill into us – that you cannot afford to make many mistakes.
"You can perhaps get away with it in the Championship. But he wants perfection, he wants to make you a better player.
"It has been a breath of fresh air around the place and people are loving coming into training sessions in the morning – and not many people want to leave by the end of them."
If his description of the Davies tenure is starting to sound a little clinical and gentile, Halford soon brings that idea to a halt.
The centre of the manager's ethos is the desire to create a 'them against us' mentality between the players and, well, literally everyone else.
"He has created a siege mentality. He wants us to be doing well," said Halford. "And every other person who is not part of that; who is not part of Nottingham Forest, wants to bring us down. That is it.
"It is a form of war, to be fair. That is the way he has got us thinking.
"Going into games, we have the mentality that we have to beat everyone. It works. The last two games have shown that it does.
"People have short memories in this game. Because, if you look back to the start of the season, we were playing well.
"We went through a bad dip in form, which ultimately cost two managers their jobs.
"But the manager now, Billy, has come in and instilled some determination, some passion and everything else that we had lacked in the last couple of months.
"It has been really good, I have really enjoyed it. I think every player has."
That enjoyment has certainly been reflected in Forest's performances, which have seen them create a host of chances against Bolton and Huddersfield in their last two games.
And Halford believes the sheer work-rate of the side, from front to back, has been integral to that improvement.
"It was nice to watch from the back. It makes our life a lot easier," he said.
"I don't know what the possession count was, but I am guessing we had a lot more of the ball than Huddersfield.
"They had fewer attacks and fewer opportunities to score. We had more chances to score, because we were winning the ball back quicker.
"It is a cliché that defence always starts from the front, but it really does. If we can win the ball higher up, we have a better chance of scoring goals.
"We are playing with a high tempo and a determination to go out and win first and second balls and, ultimately, to win games.
"Now we will concentrate on Charlton. We will prepare fully for that, before we look at the Sheffield game."
And, if Halford does take to Twitter on Saturday evening, as the Forest coach weaves it's way north, his thoughts are likely to be as honest as ever.
But, if the current mood – and form – is maintained, he is also likely to be a whole lot more positive.