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Burnley assistant Woan aiming to make Nottingham Forest moan
NOTTINGHAM Forest’s is one of the first results that Ian Woan looks for every week.
But there is only one result that the former midfielder is interested in today - a Burnley win.
Like Clarets boss Sean Dyche, his assistant manager Woan returns to the club where his football career began.
Both had their early schooling under Brian Clough at the City Ground, while it was with Forest that first team coach Tony Loughlan made his Football League bow also.
The trio were reunited in their post-playing days, first at Watford where Dyche was in charge for a year, and now at Burnley.
There is plenty for them to feel nostalgic about as they return to the corridors of their old club.
But forget Memory Lane, three points is their only focus this afternoon.
“I look out for their result still normally. It was part of my life for 11 years so you do look for it just by habit, but I don’t lose any sleep over their result any more,” said Woan, who spent seven years in the Premier League with Forest, once securing a third placed finish, won two promotions, the Full Members Cup, reached the FA Cup and League Cup finals and the last eight of the UEFA Cup.
“I had good years there, I still live in the town,” he added.
“It’s been my home since 1990 and I’ve got a lot of friends there - but I’ve got no worries about turning them over.”
Even so, Woan has never forgotten his roots, and particularly the impact that Clough - or Mr Clough as he prefers to call him - had on his career after plucking him from non-league football at the age of 21.
“I was so lucky to be taken from non-league to play for Forest, he’s an absolute legend for me,” said the 44-year-old, who was at Runcorn when he was spotted by the then top flight team.
“I don’t think I’ll ever get to a level where I can call him Brian or Cloughie. It’s always either gaffer or Mr Clough.
“Alan Hill and Ron Fenton at the time were his first team coach and assistant manager and they were the ones who came to watch me.
“I had a little decent run at Runcorn in the Conference and scored a few goals and got a little bit of attention but I never dreamt about what was going to happen - going from there to sitting third in what was then the First Division and signing for Forest.
“My sixth game was the FA Cup semi-final against West Ham when we beat them 4-0 and the 10th game was the FA Cup final.
“It was a massive jump but I dealt with it. It was a dream come true.
“It maybe came a little bit too early because when you look back you don’t really appreciate it when it’s that quick.
“You come to expect it. But luckily enough the first three years I was at Forest I think we had five trips to Wembley.
“We had the League Cup, which Forest owned for many years - they were there or thereabouts every season - and I was very fortunate enough to be involved with a lot of good players.
“You learn pretty quick if you play in front of Stuart Pearce - he doesn’t take any fools lightly. That was a swift education!
“But coming through the reserves Archie Gemmill was a big influence on me, and Liam O’Kane and obviously Mr Clough himself.
“He didn’t say an awful lot. He didn’t pat you on the back and say ‘well done’. For him to pick you in his team was praise enough. You knew you must be doing something right.
“It was a really enjoyable time.”
Woan hopes to have an enjoyable return with Burnley, who go into the game on a three-game unbeaten run, including last Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Blackburn Rovers.
I’ve been involved in Portsmouth v Southampton, Forest v Derby but it was nothing like last weekend. That was something special.
“To get the goal the way we did was fantastic.
“In a Forest v Derby fixture, if Forest were one down with five minutes to go the stadium would have been half empty but no-one left their seat on Sunday. To see the goal go in and the whole stadium erupt and the roof almost come off, it was magnificent.
“I wish it had been the winner, but it was a real good experience for us all.”
He added: “The players are getting round to our way of thinking, the way we want to play which is to be very difficult to beat.
“All the staff here and the people who were here originally have just tried to change that mentality and be really tough to beat without losing that forward momentum.”