Our penultimate home game sees us welcome Roy Keane’s Ipswich to the City Ground, in a game that represents our second attempt at the godawful fan integration scheme. Hilariously, Forest – with no sense of irony given our very ‘rural’ visitors – have been marketing this by suggesting we ‘keep it in the family‘ and as a ‘family fun zone.’ I like the idea of family-based concessions, but why this obsession with mixing fans together? Pah.
Anyway, Ipswich. A win for us all-but guarantees a playoff finish for us – so there’s some incentive to get back to winning ways at the City Ground after Monday’s draw with Cardiff. After a fairly abysmal start to the season, Roy Keane has steered Ipswich clear of the threat of relegation after a massive change in playing personnel as seems to be his modus operandi. Back to back wins for them over Reading and Derby sees them visiting us in good form.
The Reds have no fresh injury concerns after the Cardiff match (despite their numerous attempts on Chris Gunter’s legs!). Paul Anderson is still a doubt with achilles trouble, and apparently Adebola has a thigh injury which kept him out of the game with the Bluebirds. Long term absentees McKenna and Bennett will remain so, and I anticipate Billy opting for a low-risk line-up probably not dissimilar to our last home game.
Our visitors are in fine fettle too, Civelli is missing with a long term injury but they don’t have a lot of other activity on the treatment table. Plenty of eyes will be on starlet Connor Wickham – the 17 year old only signed professional contract 48 hours before bagging his first goal and making another against Derby. Certainly he’s one for Wes and Kelv to be keeping close tabs on.
All in all the Tractor Boys should provide a stern test for us, despite being destined for a midtable finish. Hopefully the lure of sewing up a playoff finish can motivate the Reds to find their final balls and shots a little better than recent games, and finish off the chances that come our way. With an unusual show of optimism I’m going to stick by neck out and predict a narrow Forest win.
In other news dear neighbours Derby are up before the beak for their flagrant inability to control their players – amusingly, after three charges of this Nigel Clough was sent to the stand for being unable to control himself in their last game too. A fine of £50,000 seems a bit tame to me, hopefully further punishments are forthcoming for Nigel’s latest transgressions! I’m not quite sure why Swansea were fined anything!
To end on a more serious note, I spotted on the Forest site the sad news that a young Forest fan passed away unexpectedly on Monday whilst preparing to visit the City Ground for the Cardiff game. May you rest in peace, Blaine Thomas, and my thoughts and condolences are with his friends and family. I’m not sure if any kind of minute silence/applause is planned, but listen out for announcements on Saturday.
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