Aah, here it comes – the start of the season. Had the ownership remained uncertain, had the managerial reins still been in a grubby mitts of Steve Cotterill, well, this would be a begrudged and pessimistic post. With ownership secured and Sean O’Driscoll at the helm it’s going to be cautiously optimistic with a healthy smattering of what might pass for realism in my head.
City were one of the few teams to finish below us in the league last season – one place below – and much like us will be hoping for a considerable improvement this season. Part of their rebuilding has involved recruiting former Reds – released winger Paul Anderson and loanee Greg Cunningham were snapped up by Derek McInnes in the summer.
As for Forest, well we have plenty of new players to pick from too – it would seem from the friendlies and cup games that certainly Collins and Ayala are SO’D's centreback pairing of choice, with Harding at leftback – it’s possible today’s loan arrival Hutchinson may feature at rightback – but then so could Moloney or even Halford.
Midfield is difficult to predict – likely to include Reidy and McGugan who were influential on Monday’s trip to Fleetwood. Guedioura is likely to be in the mix, as is Halford if he isn’t included in the defence. Blackstock will probably play, leaving a space for either another midfielder or potentially Cox depending on how he came through his ninety minutes for the Republic of Ireland.
In fact, we have no injury concerns at all – both Cohen and Gillett have returned to training following niggles. So this second-guessing exercise is really rather futile. If you were looking for a reasonably comfortable opening fixture then this would look like it on paper – but that would be a slightly over-confident attitude; much like us, Bristol City will be somewhat of an unknown quantity this season.
Certainly I’m hoping fellow fans are feeling excited like me and play their part in building the atmosphere and getting behind this new era of Nottingham Forest. I’m really looking forward to see what the manager has up his sleeve and am quietly optimistic that it might be something good – I’m not getting carried away, there’s still work to do, but I’ve been impressed with the goings on at the City Ground this summer.
The other bit of news was the home draw against Wigan as a reward for beating Fleetwood which is, well, a bit underwhelming – but a good challenge for O’Driscoll’s side to face. Forest are offering season ticket holders the opportunity to go to the match for just £8 which isn’t bad at all really – probably to combat the fact that the game is to be televised on Sky Sports.
And of course we should make note of Sam Hutchinson arriving on loan from Chelsea – following in the footsteps of John Terry and Ryan Bertrand. Contrary to initial reports he’s here on a season long loan – he actually retired through injury in 2010 having made inroads into the Chelsea squad, but a dramatic improvement in his knee injury saw him sign a new deal with the Londoners.
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