I quite like the Tractor Boys, I’m not sure why. Unlike many Reds fans I have quite a bit of time for Roy Keane too, despite the manner of his departure (which, when you think about it, was understandable – and we made a tidy profit on him!). Obviously that goes out the window on Saturday when the Reds will be looking to continue their impressive home run.
What worries me is we seem to lurch from run to run – so we were, of course, famously unbeaten away for ages last season – when that was breached it saw our challenge of the top two fade away. This season the favoured ‘run’ was the unbeaten since first day – until of course that awful trip to Barnsley. It worries me how quickly the Forest community have jumped on the fact we’re unbeaten in the league at home in over a year (ignoring the play-offs of course – which is the best thing to do with play-offs if you’re a Forest fan!).
Anyway, hopefully Billy will be back in the dug-out for this fixture having missed the last two games in person due to a viral infection. He’ll have some decisions to make too – Earnshaw won’t be fit to feature, and he has a left-back headache as Bertrand is suspended following Tuesday’s farcical booking. Lynch might be an option, or bringing Cohen back into defence or maybe shunting Gunter over to the left, Chambers at the right and Wilson back in the centre.
Up front without the boost of either Earnshaw (or Tyson, who’s also still crocked) he might be tempted by the impact Adebola has made in recent games. Whilst I’ve admitted my past harshness about the big fella, I still see him as an impact sub and not a starter. Billy may decide that McGoldrick could provide a suitable foil for Blackstock – but I expect Dex to be the lone striker with Lewis and Raddy in midfield supplying additional goal-threats.
Ipswich have a few injuries too, first-choice keeper Fulop is a doubt with a back injury, so Murphy may well continue to deputise. They are missing a couple of faces in defence too in the shape of Mark Kennedy and Darren O’Dea. Keane has hinted in the press he might change his starting eleven to accommodate some impressive sub appearances from Connor Wickham, Ronan Murray and Carlos Edwards.
Our visitors are sitting pretty in 8th at the moment, although we’re still early in the season – they’re only two points ahead of us! However, taking recent form into consideration they’ve lost their last two games – both 2-1, to Coventry at home and Watford away – they’ll be keen to not make it a hat-trick of defeats. Indeed, they’ve lost three of their last six games, winning two and drawing one.
With Keane quite known for chopping and changing it might be a good opportunity for Forest to get stuck in early before the visitors have time to settle, of course, that’s optimistic – recent games have seen Forest struggle to keep out of first gear early doors. Whilst they’ve had a few defeats, we must remember that Ipswich have already seen off the likes of Cardiff and Leeds – so they’re no slouches on their day.
Despite this, and despite generally being a bit of a grumpy sod, I fancy our chances of snatching a win come Saturday – it does rely on a good start and an early goal – if we could get a striker on the scoresheet that would be a massive boost. Unfortunately if that came to pass I imagine a fingernail-biting time of defending after that, hopefully our reshuffled defence will be able to take the pressure…