McClaren's men passed the ball well enough but, apart from a promising five-minute spell before the break and a couple of periods of pressure in the second half, they barely looked like scoring.
Veteran midfielder George Boateng provided a decent platform sitting in the centre of the midfield and fellow new signings Jonathan Greening and Andy Reid showed glimpses of their undoubted guile and creativity.
But David McGoldrick was almost anonymous up front and their lack of a cutting edge was glaringly obvious.
Hill's side were happy to surrender possession and in Haynes and the excellent Davies, they had the attacking threat Forest so missed and the best two attacking players on the pitch.
Davies should have headed them in front from Jacob Butterfield's inviting free-kick but was unable to get control of his effort and headed wastefully over from six yards.
Thankfully, as uneventful a first half of Championship football likely to be seen during the entire season improved on the turnaround but the excitement was still relatively low-key.
McGugan almost broke the deadlock but he bobbled his effort just wide of the left-hand post following some neat build-up play involving Paul Anderson on the right.
At the other end Nathan Doyle looked certain to head the visitors in front when he burst into the penalty area but Chris Cohen did brilliantly to ease the midfielder out of the way and he failed to connect with a teasing centre.
Davies also tested home goalkeeper Lee Camp in the second period after a good solo run but the visitors settled for a point as Forest pressed forward in the closing stages.
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