FanZoner Dan Mounser discusses why the arrival of John Pemberton at Nottingham Forest could be crucial.
Pemberton could be key in bringing success back to Forest
Mention 'PDC' to most sports fans and the first thing they probably think of would be Phil 'The Power' Taylor or the upcoming World Darts Championship at the Alexandra Palace.
At Nottingham Forest, those letters mean something a little different. With the millions spent on the playing side of things at the City Ground since the Al-Hasawis arrived in the summer, arguably the most important signing was the return of John Pemberton as Performance Development Coach.
Despite Pemberton not featuring in the Garibaldi Red during his playing career, he was almost part of the furniture at the newly named 'Nigel Doughty Academy' prior to Billy Davies' re-shuffle of his backroom staff in the summer of 2009.
Along with Academy Director Nick Marshall, his experience and talent at working with youngsters helped bring the likes of Michael Dawson, Andy Reid and Jermaine Jenas through the Academy - the type of talent that we probably haven't witnessed since.
It's no coincidence that after leaving Forest, he has helped nurture the likes of Nathaniel Clyne and Wilfred Zaha into first team regulars at Crystal Palace and helped guide Sheffield United to the FA Youth Cup Final as manager - the first time in their history - before losing out over two legs to Manchester United in May 2011.
I'm a firm believer in the youth team setup as part of a club's infrastructure and long-term vision and having the talent in terms of backroom staff to develop these players is integral to the overall jigsaw. Hopefully the Al-Hasawi family can also persuade Paul Hart to return in the not too distant future to reunite the dream team.
Pemberton will be acting as the anchorman to try and bridge the gap between manager Sean O'Driscoll at first-team level and also Nick Marshall and Gary Brazil at Academy level. I'm sure he will be a keen observer of Forest's upcoming FA Youth Cup Third Round tie against Cardiff City next Wednesday to see whereabouts on the conveyor belt the latest talent is.
The Reds were knocked out in the Quarter Finals by eventual winners Chelsea last year. I know it was a pretty dire and dismal campaign under McClaren and Cotterill but I can honestly say it was the most entertaining match I witnessed at The City Ground last year and well worth the £3 entry fee (even though I believe they should allow season ticket holders in for free if you're reading this Mr Al-Hasawi)
Eoin Jess's side stormed into a three-goal lead at half-time before going out 4-3 in an exhilarating contest against Roman Abramovich's millions. Forest will be looking to go a couple of steps further in this year's competition but being able to mix it with the likes of big spending Manchester United and Chelsea in the future is likely to be high, not only on John Pemberton's agenda - but also in the owners' plans as well.