Firstly should be an acknowledgement of the twenty four hours least best kept secret – a huge congratulations to Garath McCleary for a well-deserved player of the month award. It was amusing to see both Chris Gunter on Twitter and the Football League on Facebook leak the news pre-embargo. Anyway, Brizzle come to town tomorrow – I was half pondering waiting ’til full time in today’s matches, but well, there’s nothing too pivotal for us going on.
Basically, if we win this game then we have all but secured our safety – in my opinion – and doomed our opponents somewhat. Now, that wouldn’t be mathematical, of course – but this very observation will mean even with practically bugger all fans in the away end, and a well-stocked home crowd at the City Ground, you can bet your bottom dollar that City will be veritably fighting for their Championship lives.
Arguably they have been for the last few games – and having not managed to win their last five, they’re not doing a brilliant job of it. The Reds are of course having a mini-resurgence, unbeaten in four and with breathing space between us and the dropzone – a dropzone that Bristol City sit at the top of. City go on to play at home against Coventry on Easter Monday – so they really need to be picking up points if they are to survive.
Forest have no fresh injury worries – so Elokobi and Higginbotham could well be in contention, although with a settled back four delivering solid results and performances they may have to content themselves with a place on the bench. City will have McGivern available, a Manchester City loanee presumably familiar to Cunningham, having returned from suspension – but will be missing Fontaine who remains suspended, and Elliott, Wilson and Clarkson who are on the long term injury list.
One man to watch out for could be Brett Pitman, deployed as a sub last week he netted an impressive equaliser against Derby. He’s a player I’ve always rated since his days at Bournemouth. Plus his name rhymes with ‘hitman’ which makes for an amusing wrestler or darts player style Brett ‘the Hitman’ Pitman style alliteration. Simple minds, simple pleasures, eh?
Anyway, back on a sensible topic – this should be a winnable game, and somewhat of a tidemark for confirming our survival – with a crowd swelled by ticket offers it’s just the kind of game that we have struggled with at home, a sense of occasion, a lot at stake a big home crowd that might prove impatient. However, with a renewed sense of optimism from some genuinely good performances and results, we should be able to overcome Derek McInnes side.
Fingers crossed anyway! Taking three points from this game eases pressure on a – on balanace – not particularly daunting away trip to Peterborough on Easter Monday, after all. I’ve got drinking plans straight after the game tomorrow so don’t expect a match report ’til some time on Sunday afternoon. I hope you’re all enjoying your Easter break (if you’re lucky enough to have one) – and let’s hope it’s a productive Easter for the Reds!
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