I’m a bit late previewing our trip down to Orient for a sell-out game in the dubious environs of East London – but I shall persevere nonetheless! Forest travel to the capital on the back of successive wins over Brentford and Bournemouth, and now face yet another side battling at the wrong end of the table, so hopefully we can carry on taking points with a decent performance as we have mustered for the last game-and-a-half.
We remain – as ever it seems – four points adrift of Bristol City in second – with only two games remaining that means if City are able to beat Millwall at the New Den then they’re confirmed as promoted automatically, and we are guaranteed a stint in the playoffs (which I think most fans accept as inevitable anyway!). So just as we will be keen to see Forest register a win, we will, of course, inevitably keeping an eye on goings on elsewhere in London.
Our other eye will probably be watching Kris Commons – the winger has been on great form of late, bagging four goals in our last two games, two in each game. In a season dogged by injury and inconsistency Forest fans will be keen to see Commons taking a decent run of form (and fitness) into the probably playoff lottery we’re likely to find ourselves in.
Orient probably aren’t really at risk of being relegated – although I’m sure securing their safety mathematically by doing one on Forest would be an appealing prospect. Certainly for Martin Ling who used to play with Smoulds for Swindon. They won their last game, against Bradford, last week – this was their first win for some time, so the mood is likely to be reasonably good for our hosts.
If they were in a reasonably good mood, then they must be bricking it a bit that Scott Dobie is set to make his 564th comeback from injury for the Reds, having come through unscathed in a reserve outing against Port Vale midweek. Dobie at least gives us another option up front given all our injuries. Big Wes is still out, as of course are Clingan, Tyson and Agogo.
Orient are weakened slightly with Michael Simpson and Gary Hooper out with knee injuries, but will still be able to call upon the dangerous Gary Alexander who has helped himself to twelve goals in the league so far this season, which isn’t a bad haul considering how Orient have struggled at the wrong end of the table.
We do owe Orient one, mind – historically we’ve had the upper hand over them, but in our most recent meeting we were rather embarrassed on our own turf when the Londoners ran out 3-1 winners, with former-Stag Wayne Corden proving a real thorn in the side throughout the game – as well as scoring the final goal after Breckin had given us a lifeline. This was, of course, Orient’s first away win of the season!
All in all, a tricky one – and largely irrelevant if Bristol win at The Den anyway – Orient are draw specialists at home, but I’m reasonably hopeful that if Forest approach the game positively and take their recent form and performances into this one, we will prove more than a match for them. But let’s face it – Forest are anything but predictable at the best of times!
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