Nigel Clough: Burton boss says Nottingham Forest job came at wrong time

Nigel Clough (right) and Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic
Nigel Clough (right) had a frustrating evening watching his Burton side being well beaten by Slavisa Jokanovic's Fulham on Wednesday

Burton Albion boss Nigel Clough says turning down the chance to manage Nottingham Forest was a "matter of principle" and nothing to do with his former club's off-field problems.

Clough met Reds owner Fawaz Al Hasawi but said he could not leave with Burton in a Championship relegation fight.

"I cannot tell you how attractive a proposition it is to go to Nottingham Forest," he told BBC Radio Derby.

"But it's not the right time or the right thing to do."

Burton are just three points clear of the bottom three following Wednesday's 2-0 home defeat by Fulham, while Forest are eight points above the relegation places.

Many Forest supporters have become increasingly angry and disillusioned with the Al Hasawi reign, which has seen the club fail to pay bills on time, be placed under a transfer embargo and part company with seven managers.

Academy director Gary Brazil is in interim charge following the sacking of Philippe Montanier last month, but the club are still without a chief executive, there have been two failed takeovers in the past 12 months, and fans have staged protests at the City Ground in recent weeks.

Clough said uncertainty at Forest did not influence his decision to stay with the Brewers.

"I had a chat with the chairman (Al Hasawi)," the 50-year-old said. "He came across very well, no problems at all. It was totally down to staying here.

"It was choosing a matter of principle. It was loyalty not to jump ship mid-season with the position we are in."

'Never say never'

Nigel Clough
Nigel Clough won the League Cup twice as a Nottingham Forest player in 1989 and 1990 and scored 131 goals for the club

Clough ended his first spell with Burton in January 2009, when he left to take over at Derby County.

He said being asked if he wanted to go to Forest was a bit "mixed-up", explaining that the right question was 'is it right to leave Burton Albion at this time?'.

He added: "Once that answer's a no, then that answers the other question.

"Last time we left, we were 13 or 14 points clear in the Conference in different circumstances. Had we been halfway up the table and nearly safe by now it might have been a different question to consider - but not when we are battling away.

"All of the staff thought about it. We came in Monday morning and we were all agreed that it didn't feel the right time to leave.

"But you never say never. Football is far too unpredictable to say things like that."

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