Nottingham Forest hoping to tie up Billy Davies return today
NOTTINGHAM Forest were last night working to tie up a deal to bring Billy Davies back to the City Ground for a dramatic second stint as manager.
The Al Hasawi family have made the Scotsman their primary target, as they look to make a swift appointment, following the departure of Alex McLeish on Tuesday.
The club's Kuwaiti owners believe the appointment of Davies would be a popular move with supporters, following a tumultuous first seven months to their reign.
The departure of McLeish, following a frustrating transfer window and a series of behind the scenes disagreements, has left them looking for their fourth manager since they arrived at the club back in July.
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And they hope Davies is the man to restore the club's fortunes – as well as a little faith among the fans.
The former Preston and Derby manager left the City Ground under a cloud in the summer of 2011, as his relationship with the club hierarchy became increasingly fractious.
But his abilities as a manager have never been in question, with Davies firstly steering the club away from relegation upon his arrival in January 2009, before subsequently securing back-to-back top-six finishes in the Championship.
As a result, he has remained a popular figure among many Reds fans.
And chairman Fawaz Al Hasawi is now ready to back Davies to go that one step further, by steering the club into the top flight.
According to a statement released by Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston, Davies yesterday rejected the chance to take over as manager at Bloomfield Road, as he wanted to pursue "another opportunity".
And he was instead understood to be in discussions with Forest over a potential second spell in charge.
But, whether the negotiations are successful or not, Davies is unlikely to take control of the side when they travel to Ashton Gate to take on Bristol City on Saturday.
Assistant manager Rob Kelly will take caretaker charge of the fixture, which sees Forest pitted against former boss Sean O'Driscoll, who was sacked on Boxing Day.
If a deal cannot be agreed with Davies – who will want to bring the majority of his old coaching staff back to the City Ground with him, starting with long-time number two Ned Kelly, who is currently at Walsall – Forest will turn to either Paolo Di Canio, who is currently unsettled at Swindon Town, former Southampton boss Nigel Adkins or ex-Reds favourite Roy Keane.
Paul Ince and Paul Hart have both also expressed their interest in the position.