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Dec 28, 2012

McLeish vows to win over detractors at Forest

Alex McLeish has every confidence in his own ability to win over the contingent of Nottingham Forest supporters who have voiced their disapproval of his appointment as Sean O'Driscoll's successor.

McLeish polled 0% of the votes in a poll in the local papers canvassing opinion on O'Driscoll's replacement, ahead of the Scot's return to the managerial game on a 12-month rolling contract.

He has spent the last seven months recovering from his sacking by Aston Villa, what he refers to as a "catalogue of horrors", just 12 months into a three-year contract and constant battles with supporters angry at his appointment by Villa owner Randy Lerner.

McLeish is aware of the opposition to his arrival at the City Ground to take charge of a side just one point away from the Championship play-offs, but said: "Winning games helps to get fans onside. Obviously it's not as if I am Jose Mourinho.

"At times you have to realise that some fans are not with you from the beginning, but if we can win games and the players produce the same kind of performance they did against Leeds then there is no reason why we cannot be singing from the same sheet."

McLeish admits he needed to take a complete break from the game following his departure from Villa in May, but is refreshed and in the mood to rebuild a reputation that has taken a battering following relegation with Birmingham City and the awful season at Villa Park.

He was "surprised" by the Forest approach, within 24 hours of Sean O'Driscoll's sacking on Boxing Day and after talks with chairman Fawaz Al Hasawi on Thursday, decided the challenge of trying to end Forest's 13-year exile from the Premier League was too good to refuse.

Forest's Kuwaiti owners have indicated there will be funds available to strengthen the squad when the transfer window opens on January 1 and McLeish has played down suggestions he is under immediate pressure to deliver promotion in May.

"It's always nice to come to a club of Forest's magnitude and get a job where the team is just a point off the play-offs. Usually when you are out of work and offered jobs they are from teams in trouble. So this is a wonderful opportunity and challenge for me," he said.

"It has been a whirlwind to be honest and now I have got to target getting into the top six and ultimately start gunning for the Premier League. I have not been told I have to achieve that this season, but I have got a good bunch of players who are capable of playing good football and if it is not broken, then don't fix it.

"I will tread carefully and will not be trying to bring in ten players in January. The owners have indicated there will be room to do something and if we feel a certain position needs strengthening and we can target a player we will do that."

McLeish has agreed to work with current Forest coaches Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Rob Kelly, who will be in charge of team affairs for tomorrow's Championship game against Crystal Palace, with the Scot observing from the directors box.

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