Smoulds confirms Ronnie Moore’s fears about Thommo recall..

I laughed off Ronnie Moore’s outlandish claims that we had recalled John Thompson purely to mess with their mojo in the run-up to Christmas; but in an interview with the Nottingham Evening Post Smoulderwood has confirmed that that was a factor in his decision.  Feedback from Thommo’s performances for the nearly-Scousers as well as a look at where Tranmere Rovers were shaping up in the table made the wily manager decide to bring Thompson back.

Smoulders said the following when questioned about bringing back the versatile Irishman:

“It was for selfish reasons that we recalled him,” said Calderwood. “We had a look ahead at the fixtures coming up.  John has done well, we had good reports back from there about him.

“He gives us cover in a couple of positions, but particularly in defence, where he will eventually end up playing. They were also becoming one of our promotion rivals, so we did not really want to be doing them a favour.”

Couple of good things in there; but I was particularly pleased to read an almost throwaway comment in the last paragraph – he will eventually end up playing in defence.  Whilst I’ve always admired Thommo’s willingness to be shoehorned into the team in any position, it’s certianly defence where I prefer him to be – he’s never quite cut it as a midfielder for me, but in central defence or right-back (at a push) then if he plays up to his potential, he could be a useful player for us.

Discussing why he was recalled quickly but not played, Smoulds clarified:

“We did not want to recall him 24 hours before the Orient game or on Christmas Eve for the Boxing Day game,” he said. “We wanted him to be back here, very much settled and at home, to be part of the group again as soon as possible.”

Sensible policy – Smoulderwood often talks of “the group” in interviews, clearly dressing room harmony and a willingness of the team to work for each other is quite central to his ideas around man management – and that sounds good to me.  That said, given the performance on Saturday against Leyton Orient, “the group” could do with good hard kick up the arse!

Young ‘uns face Chelsea..

Okay, so it’s not the Chelsea first team – but the Forest youth team continue their road to the FA Youth Cup final tonight by meeting the Chelsea tonight at the recreation ground in Aldershot.  The Forest youth side have already overcome Coventry Sphinx (why Sphinx?!) and Port Vale to get to this stage, and now will need to step up to the inevitably higher challenge of facing the West Londoners.

The winner of this game gets the “reward” of a trip to Liverpool – so they’ll need to make sure they check the locking nuts on the team bus wheels for that one!  These are good tests for our younger players though, and will hopefully give an indication to the club of those amongst our youth ranks who have the ability to start to be prepared for moving up into the senior squad over the next couple of years – good luck lads!

Does Charlton’s latest humiliation bode well?

I’m not sure if anybody noticed, but our forthcoming FA Cup opponents Charlton Athletic (or should that be Charlton Arthritic as I’m sure Stress and Pie would call them) lost at home to League Two Wycombe Wanderers in the quarter finals of the Carling Cup last night.  Wycombe overcame Notts County in the previous round, so it was probably a case of “what might have been” for our neighbours – but certainly it’s another nail in the Charlton coffin – and surely their confidence taking a battering is good for us?

Charlton have a run in of Middlesbrough away, Fulham at home, Aston Villa at home and then Arsenal away before facing the trip to hardly-a-fortress City Ground on 6th January – not the toughest run-in, but for Charlton there are no easy games at the moment, so hopefully their poor run will continue and build to an almighty humiliating crescendo against Arsenal leaving the Addicks bereft of confidence when finally wending their way up the M1 to face us.  Having checked their fixtures, bless them, they still have the date for the FA Cup semi final on their fixture list!

Of course, the flipside of this could be that Charlton do indeed hit something approximating rock-bottom, and bounce back to get a result against us which may well kickstart some semblance of a fight against relegation from them.  But let’s not think about that!  Whilst it still grates a bit, we are the underdogs, and we really don’t have that much to lose, so long as we don’t get spanked, of course.

I suppose the other interesting thing to come from that match were the goalscoring antics of their Welsh forward Jermaine Easter – he’s scored in every round of the Carling Cup so far; and will surely be attracting interest from higher levels, such is the nature of “giantkilling” type performances, often players are picked up for higher levels.  As a forward he’s not exactly what we need I wouldn’t say really, but certainly we may well end up playing against him after January should someone be looking to replace a striker in a hurry, someone like Scunthorpe, perhaps?