Why don’t I feel more confident?

It’s never straightforward being a Nottingham Forest fan.

We’re top of the league, we haven’t lost in that competition, in fact, we’ve only dropped 2 points all season with a draw against tough opponents. That’s a dream start in anybody’s language, and yet I find myself oddly unconfident. I left Yeovil thinking we’d robbed them blind, given their possession, but on reviewing the stats, it is true that we did have 4-5 decent scoring opportunities to their couple.

Whilst I wouldn’t be so self-important to suggest I know better than our qualified coach, who has delivered our best start to a season in 40 odd years, but I’m not at all convinced by the 3-5-2 formation – the ‘back five’ is imbalanced because Bennett is a defender by nature, and Southall a midfielder. If I were a scout for our opponents then I’d be pressurising the right flank, because poor old Julian gets overrun there easily due to the lack of cover from a truly left-sided midfielder, whilst Krissy Commons isn’t a particularly defensively minded player, I can’t wait to see him back so that we don’t have such a gap on the left.

The other factor is that we’ve had quite a bit of luck, we’ve had five penalties – all of which, I might add, I believe were legitimate, and when our defence has let players get through then we’ve seen misses and great saves from the excellent Paul Smith. I’m not used to Forest having good fortune, I guess. When we get it I wait for it to go wrong.

I put in the heading of this website that I have a probably misguided sense of optimism, but I must admit that this ‘too good to be true’ start is starting to test this attitude. I’m sure it will pass, I’m adjusting to what will hopefully be a better era in our history – because aside from a cup match blip, life under Colin Calderwood has started not far off as well as it possibly could have, and in spite of whatever underlying doubts I may harbour, long may it continue!

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Dobie back in the squad

Scott Dobie steps up his return from his injury nightmare and makes the squad for tomorrow’s meeting with Oldham Athletic. The unlucky striker’s return to fitness increases the pressure on Forest’s strikeforce to keep delivering the goods, and also potentially gives right winger Nicky Southall something to think about as he’s capable of playing on the right wing too.

As players return from injury it should really help to consolidate the strong position Forest find themselves early doors this season. It’s a reminder for our current starting XI that they need to keep performing, and a real incentive for those stuck on the bench to step it up in training or for the reserves to try to lay claim to a starting berth!

Combined with Agogo it gives Forest real pacey options should we need to change our style of play or chase a game, so all in all, great news!

Defensive injuries not as bad as first feared

The injuries to defensive duo Danny Cullip and John Curtis are thankfully not as serious as first feared – initial reports suggested we might be without the pair for a month or more, but latest news from the City Ground have stated that Cullip is looking at a three week lay off, and Curtis could feature as soon as the weekend.

Of course this means both are out of contention for tomorrow night’s clash with Oldham Athletic, so there will be a reshuffle amongst the defence.  I would favour a return to a 4-4-2 formation bringing Perch or Thompson to right back, with Morgan partnering Breckin in the centre and Bennett at fullback – this will work best if we can bring Commons back onto the left side of midfield to give the side better balance.

JPP loan extended

Bury have extended Jon-Paul Pittman’s loan by a month, the 19 year old striker having made 8 appearances for the Shakers (including 3 from the bench).  The Bury manager commented that Pittman may be short of fitness, but has shown himself to be hard-working and honest.

Good news for us, I think, since with the glut of strikers we seem to have, strengthened by the acquisition of Agogo and the returning fitness of Scott Dobie it’s unlikely the youngster will feature in the Forest team any time soon, so to get him some first team football will help him develop and help our staff see what he can do in a competitive environment!

Strange chants: part two

A blockThis little number is quite a common one, and is often wheeled out to the inevitable “You’re not famous anymore” type chants we get from all and sundry visiting the City Ground these days, or indeed on our travels, and it goes a little something like this:

You’ve never won f**k all!

Let’s ignore the fact for a moment that it’s an oxymoron, in fact no, let’s not ignore it – if you’ve NEVER won ‘f**k all’, then by logic you HAVE once won something. This is ironic, because given that it’s been a good while since we won anything of note, more often than not the recipients of this ill thought out taunt are often in a similar boat, albeit with a longer gap since when they last won something.

Huddersfield, for example, were on the receiving end of this chant last season – they’ve won the league three times, twice more than us, admittedly this was in the 1920’s, so they need slightly longer memories than us to remember the glory days, but you get my point.

I suppose this is linked to the whole ‘terrace wit’ story I posted a few days ago – firstly, this chant is silly because it doesn’t make any grammatical sense, and then secondly, it is incredibly baby executed by indiscriminate Reds fans and directed at supporters of teams who have an illustrious past.

Paul Gerrard to the Gills?

According to Footymad, out of contract Paul Gerrard is apparently a transfer target for Gillingham after being released by Forest last season.

The lack of opportunities the keeper has had since leaving the reds is largely supportive of my thoughts that he’s perhaps seen his best days as a keeper – and indeed, but in a very grim era at the City Ground he was certainly one of the more positive players to line up for us, so I certainly wish him well – albeit not too well, as I’m not best fond of the pikeys!

It does bring into focus the ridiculousness of some sections of Forest support suggesting he was “the best keeper outside the Premiership” which was gradually reduced to “the best keeper outside the Championship” ad infinitum.  Clearly he isn’t, or wasn’t – and in Paul Smith I feel we have not only a better replacement, but one much nearer the start of his career with room to develop further.

So good luck, Paul – but not too much luck 🙂