Steve Cotterill joins Forest after leaving Portsmouth

Steve Cotterill has signed a three-and-a-half-year contract to be Nottingham Forest manager after leaving fellow Championship strugglers Portsmouth.

Cotterill will watch Forest's match at Coventry on Saturday from the stands.

The 47-year-old replaces Steve McClaren, who resigned as Forest boss in early October,  at the City Ground.

"I'm very excited - it's a wonderful football club which has great traditions which should be embraced," Cotterill told Forest's website. 

"I'm passionate - I want us to play good football and play on the front foot.

"I think there are some very talented players in the dressing room and we'll be looking only to enhance that and do well with them.

"I like to think of myself as hard-working, honest and a winner."

Cotterill was at Pompey's training ground earlier on Friday saying goodbye to his players before driving to Nottingham.

He told BBC Radio Solent: "It has not been an easy decision because of the relationship I have with people at Portsmouth.

"The fans, players and staff have been fantastic. It has been a tough day and I would rather just get on with it now.

COTTERILL IN CHARGE

  • Cheltenham Town: Feb 1997-May 2002
  • Stoke City: May-Oct 2002
  • Burnley: June 2004-Nov 2007
  • Notts County: Feb-May 2010
  • Portsmouth: June 2010-Oct 2011

"It's been a very upsetting morning and I had to compose myself before I came out here to talk to you this morning.

"I'd rather not elaborate because I'll get upset again. Forest are a fantastic club and when I heard of their interest it was very flattering."

Pompey's first-team coach Stuart Gray took training on Friday after Cotterill had said his goodbyes and - along with Guy Whittingham - will take temporary charge of the team.

Former Notts County manager Cotterill emerged as the bookmakers' favourite to take over from McClaren earlier this week.

He Cotterill joined Pompey in June 2010 after a successful stint at Meadow Lane in which he guided County to promotion from League Two.

We did talk about his motivation for going, and he decided it was an offer he couldn't refuse

Portsmouth chief executive David Lampitt

And Portsmouth chief executive David Lampitt said he had hoped to keep Cotterill at Fratton Park.

"I've built up a good personal relationship with Steve over the last 18 months - we've been through some challenging times together, so I'm sad to see him go, but he leaves with our best wishes for his new job," Lampitt told BBC Radio Solent.

"From a professional and footballing point of view, it creates an opportunity for us to bring in some fresh blood and fresh ideas to the club. We'll take our time doing that to make sure we make the right appointment.

"We did talk about his motivation for going, and he decided it was an offer he couldn't refuse.

"I had several conversations with him over the course of the week, but ultimately it was his decision. I respect that, and we move on and start the search for finding his replacement."

Struggling Forest lie 21st in the Championship, a point and two places below Pompey and last week called off their chase to bring Charlton academy director Paul Hart back to the club in a technical director role.

Assistant manager Rob Kelly will take charge of the team for the trip to Coventry, who sit in 22nd, one point and one place behind Forest.