Will Nottingham Forest last the distance?
At the City Ground.
Like a sprinter that has given too much over the first 70 metres, Nottingham Forest manager Billy Davies is fearful that his team will run out of steam over the final 12 weeks of the Championship season.
He is concerned they will become tired and jaded and there was evidence of that at a misty City Ground as Forest were fortunate to clinch a 2-1 victory over an Owls side rejuvenated under Alan Irvine.
In Forest's defence, they showed the character and determination to find a winner after Wednesday had deservedly equalised with 17 minutes left - but the bold and stylish football that saw Forest demolish promotion rivals WBA 3-1 at the Hawthorns and thrash QPR 5-0 in January was largely absent.
Davies might rate the hundreds of letters and emails he has received from supporters praising the quality and vim of Forest's football as a personal highlight of the campaign so far, but if his side are to finish the season celebrating promotion to the Premier League I suspect there will be a lot more afternoons of scrappy, sleeves-rolled-up football over the coming weeks.
It is a point that is not missed on the 45-year-old manager.
The Forest boss is worried that his squad lack experience. They do have skipper Paul McKenna knitting everything together from the centre of midfield but they otherwise lack what Davies described as "hairy-arsed" players.
The 45-year-old pointed towards club greats such as John McGovern and explained how they understood that playing 'the Forest way' is not an absolute and unbreakable principle. The suggestion is that the great Brian Clough teams could tough it out when necessary.
The defeat at Derby last weekend is a point in case, with Davies arguing: "When we face this type of physical game our young side must be mature and handle what is thrown at it."
Davies rarely talks about his squad without emphasising how young it is and listening to him can at times brings to mind a politician who wants to tell you all about his new policy.
After the victory against Wednesday, Davies attended the post-match media conference and batted off a few questions about the game before getting a few things off his chest.
Firstly, he had dropped talented Pole Radoslaw Majewski because, after watching him in training on Friday, he felt the loanee's head was "not in the right place". This, explained Davies, was because the deal to sign him permanently was dragging on.
Secondly, the manager claimed that the left-back situation is very troubling because he is currently trying to fit square pegs into a round hole. This is because the club failed to sign loan player Nicky Shorey in January.
Shorey has now joined Fulham and Davies reckons that not having a natural left-footed player of attacking type in that position has impacted on his side's style of play.
I agree that left-back is a real issue but the reason that Davies was making the point about Majewski and Shorey is because he is not in charge of transfers at Forest - that is the job of the transfer acquisitions panel, which is headed by David Pleat and acts upon suggestions by the manager.
Davies recommended several different players in three separate positions but the transfer window closed without anyone arriving at the City Ground. When asked whether he would change the set-up at the club he observed that he knew when he came to the club that he was just a "hired hand".
It is clearly a matter of great frustration to the feisty Scot, who cut through my attempts to find out how close Forest had come to signing anyone by declaring: "We failed. That is the bottom line.
"Our competitors have added to the depth of their squads - that tells us the intent they have."
And so Forest went into Saturday's match against Wednesday with a squad of 21, leaving Davies to conclude: "We are still playing catch-up and miles behind other clubs with regard to squad size and depth."
Injuries or suspensions to key players could yet derail Forest but they do not lack quality. Their bench on Saturday comprised Paul Anderson, Lewis McGugan, Dele Adebola, David McGoldrick, Luke Chambers, Paul Smith and Majewski; a range of attacking options that would be the envy of many a manager.
I asked Davies what he could do to keep his squad fresh. "Nothing," was his immediate response, although the brevity of his answered hinted at his frustration with the transfer situation rather than a genuine belief that he is powerless in this matter.
The truth is that Davies will do absolutely everything he can to haul his squad to the end of the season. It is part of the manager's short-term strategy, which involves working as hard as he can on a week-to-week basis to drag every ounce possible out of his squad.
The success of this strategy to date is threatening to undermine his long-term plan, which Davies has willingly shared with anyone who will listen all season long.
"I still think to win promotion is one step too early, to do it in two or three steps is far better in my experience," said the Scot, who has clearly been deeply scarred by his tenure at Derby, where he was sacked 14 games into their 2007-08 Premier League season after defying the odds to win promotion the previous campaign.
"I still don't think it is right for this club to get promoted too early, I think [this season] is too early."
Davies is a fascinating and complex character: feisty, belligerent and committed. He is often at the centre of story and, like a squall far out at sea, is often unpredictable and underestimated only by the foolhardy.
He seems to thrive on adversity (his programme notes on Saturday contained the line that "any attempts to destabilise the club will be met with a deadly determination"), yet he cannot watch his team take a penalty, instead staring at his shoes. He is a mass of contradictions.
Sometimes I think that he is his own worst enemy.
For example, the build-up to the game against Wednesday had been dominated by his decision to make a formal complaint to the League Managers Association and the Football Association against Rams boss Nigel Clough after the latter's alleged kick during a melee at the end of their game. I don't know anyone who doesn't think Davies would be better served dropping the entire issue, although the thought does cross my mind that he might be trying to shield his players from the spotlight.
But there is no doubt that he is a brilliant Championship manager. He reached the play-off final at Preston, won it at Derby and has quickly built a team at Forest that I think can last the distance despite the aforementioned issues.
Irvine seems inclined to agree, noting after Saturday's game: "Billy has got Forest playing very well and I think they have a terrific chance of automatic promotion."
Forest started a run of five games in 15 days against Wednesday - and by the end of that we should have a much better idea of which position they are likely to cross the finishing line in.