Sean O'Driscoll says big decisions must be made at Nottingham Forest
THE job description remains the same, but Sean O'Driscoll may admit to finding himself in unfamiliar territory at Nottingham Forest.
On the pitch, the challenges of honing a successful side are no different to those he faced at Doncaster Rovers.
But, in every other sense, the Reds boss is treading new ground.
With the south Yorkshire club, every penny counted. Contract negotiations were simple – Rovers would offer what they could afford and that was that.
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There was little room for manoeuvre; little wriggle room.
In a few weeks time, O'Driscoll will meet with the Al Hasawi family to discuss the blueprint for the future at Nottingham Forest, in terms of the players they have got and those they want.
The Kuwaiti owners have backed the manager thoroughly so far, enabling him to bring the likes of Simon Cox, Danny Collins, Adlene Guedioura and Henri Lansbury to the club permanently, while signing players such as Billy Sharp, Daniel Ayala and Jermaine Jenas on loan.
They have also backed his judgment when it comes to several more high profile players that Forest might have signed – but O'Driscoll felt might not fit into the sense of harmony and unity the club, under the manager's guidance, have engineered in the dressing room.
With the January transfer window approaching and with seven players out of contract in the summer – including some key names – there are more big decisions approaching on the horizon.
And O'Driscoll says the club must decide what course they wish to take, as they look to plot a path to the Premier League.
If past evidence is anything to go by, the stance is unlikely to be as frugal as he was used to at Doncaster or Bournemouth.
"The club has to decide what direction it wants to go in," said O'Driscoll, when asked about the future of the likes of Lee Camp, Lewis McGugan, Dexter Blackstock, Radi Majewski, Andy Reid, Brendan Moloney and Marcus Tudgay.
"I can give recommendations, but that is something for the owners and the club to decide.
"It is an important decision as well.
"If you have the finance, you can fast track things, you can take a risk. You can do that.
"Or you can build the club in a sensible manner. There is no wrong or right. You just need to know which, so you can move things on.
"For the players who are out of contract – I have been in that situation as a player – there is uncertainty.
"If you are not going to get signed, you move on and deal with the situation. If you are going to get signed up, you sit down and you talk about it.
"We are just in that period where the crucial decisions have not been made. There are a few meetings coming up in the next two or three weeks.
"The sooner we can clarify what is going on, the better."
O'Driscoll says he would like to see Forest's out-of-contract players persuaded to sign new deals.
And, in the meantime, he says he hopes they can remain focused on the task in hand.
"Yes, I would like to see them stay. They are all good players," he said.
"And, when you look at your squad, it is OK saying you can lose player X – but only if you feel you can replace him.
"It is who you replace him with that matters... can you get somebody who is better?
"For most football clubs, the idea is to let a player go and replace him with somebody better, who also costs you less.
"If you can get that scenario going, you are on the right track – but it is also an unbelievably difficult thing to do.
"You can lose one player and find it costs you three times as much to replace him with a player who is not as good. It can work both ways."
It is here that O'Driscoll insists there is little difference between his challenge at Doncaster and the one he faces now, even if the figures involved may be slightly different.
"Recruitment is a massive, massive part of football, regardless of what level you are at," he said.
"Whether you are a small club scrambling around or a big club with millions to spend, you have to make sure you have the right players for you at that particular time.
"Regardless of if you have three- to five-year plans, this is a week-to-week business.
"If it fits in with what you are doing now, in the short term and what you want to achieve further on, then you are doing well."
Last summer, Forest saw Luke Chambers, Garath McCleary and Joel Lynch leave the club for nothing, when their contracts expired.
But that was at a stage when the club's own future was uncertain, with the Al Hasawi takeover still far from completed.
Now, with a promotion challenge – rather than a relegation fight – being the ambition for the future, the mood feels rather different.
Forest, you might imagine, should find it easier to persuade players to put pen to paper.
"They are good players and they will have opportunities," said O'Driscoll. "There are not many players who stay at clubs because it is 'their club'.
"We have an opportunity. We have to think about where we pitch what we want to do.
"We have to make sure that we do not do one thing one minute and another the next, because we will get a mish-mash of players and we will send out mixed messages.
"We have to make sure we are consistent. We have to sit down and talk. We have to have a view about where we are and what we want to do.
"You don't all have to agree, as long as you all pull in the same direction after you make a decision.
"The sooner that happens, the better for everyone, for the players and for the club.
"Once that happens, we can move things forward."
Under O'Driscoll, Forest have already taken some big steps, as he rebuilt a squad that had been decimated by players leaving because they were allowed to slip out of contract.
In the coming weeks, between now and the end of January, we will find out how big their next strides will be, as they look to build the momentum they hope will carry them into the top flight.