McGoldrick’s gone to Port Vale, so that leaves us with Hartson, Dobie or a surprise!

Supposed longish term target David McGoldrick has joined Port Vale, despite competition from ourselves and Leeds United.  So that quashes that particular piece of speculation that has been doing the rounds.  The Nottingham Evening Post speculated that our move for him was what was prevent Scott Dobie being released to try his luck elsewhere, with Aberdeen and Swindon Town thought to be likely destinations.

And so that leaves John Hartson in the speculated-about targets.  The Times has gone as far to report that we have already signed the former-Celtic man on loan, with West Brom picking up the bulk of the tab for his wages – but that’s yet to be confirmed by Forest – perhaps they were awaiting a ‘double signing’ announcement opportunity, indeed, perhaps they still are – or, of course, perhaps it’s all just a load of bollocks.

It always surprises me how so many deals are left until the last minute by football clubs – certainly Forest tend to leave their activities very late.  I realise leaving it late gives the buying club perhaps a better bargaining position, but it’s sheer torture reading the various assertions on numerous forums from people with ‘sources’, who have been ‘nailed on’ in the past, yet strangely, every time I seem to see one, they turn out to be wrong.

Ho hum.  I suppose there’s not too long to wait to find out what’s going to happen for certain.

A fiver for the Leicester replay, Foxy Megson, and no transfer activity!

I suppose it wasn’t surprising that we wouldn’t get to go to the Leicester replay for free – those of us present can take our ticket stubs down to the ticket office from tomorrow and get a ticket for £5 for the games (or £1 for concessions), I suppose £21 or £5 isn’t an outrageous amount for what will hopefully end up as 135 minutes of football. 

Speaking of our friends from down the A46, along with all the usual managerial-vacancy names that always get bandied around when a club of Leicester’s profile has a change of manager, the rumour-mill suggests that the perpetually-jobless-since-managing-us ginger warrior, Gary Megson, is a frontrunner to replace the outgoing Martin ‘Mad Dog’ Allen as the gaffer for the Foxes.

Whilst many of my contemporaries seem to delight in this, I don’t think he’d be that bad an appointment for them – he encountered one hell of a lot of issues he wouldn’t have anticipated here, and whilst he’s not beyond criticism, I do think he has kept back a lot of what went on behind the scenes here during his tenure.  Certainly him taking over would add a bit of spice to the cup replay if he was to be appointed.

There’s only a little over 24 hours left of the transfer window and to my knowledge we’ve yet to have any of the much-hinted-at-and-speculated-about incomings or outgoings.  Neil Danns has reiterated his desire to fight for a place at Birmingham after yet again being linked with a loan move, and many fans seem to be holding out for the arrival of David McGoldrick from Southampton on loan, with Dobie prophecised to be heading north of the border.

After so many transfer windows, and so much speculation, I’ve given up colluding in it – so I fully expect bugger all to happen (of course, in the sly hope that by posting this I’ll be made to look wrong, but then, have I shot myself in the foot by qualifying this?).  Since we’ve seen some decent performances in our two most recent halves of football, perhaps Smoulds’s plans are falling into place.

Certainly with the current availability of strikers we will need to think about cover for Agogo during the African Nations tournament, though.

Leicester game rescheduled, Clarke on the mend, post-match violence and rumours are rife..

Okay, most important things first, early indications suggest that Leicester City defender Clive Clarke is improving in hospital.  Leicester’s owner, Milan Mandaric, went to the press having visited the player at Nottingham’s Queen Medical Centre, describing him as “improving and quite comfortable” and stating the obvious priority for him to recover as well and as quickly as possible.

Certainly it’s a relief to hear he’s had no relapses after reportedly his heart stopped twice during a fraught half time last night at the City Ground, where the player underwent four bouts of treatment with a defibrillator from paramedics, who along with the Leicester City medical team have rightly been praised for their prompt action in treating the falling man so effectively.

The game has been rescheduled for 18th September, a Tuesday night, meaning Leicester have had to postpone their league encounter with Ipswich Town.  Forest have not revealed ticket arrangements as yet, but have urged supporters present last night to keep hold of their ticket stubs, it would be a bit rich if they expected those who were present on the night to pay again, afterall!

As the transfer window draws to a close in a couple of days, the rumour mill has reignited.  David McGoldrick from Southampton remains the most credible rumour after it’s reported he’d favour a loan move to the midlands for family reasons – with Dobie being popularly linked with a switch to “the other Smoulds” by heading back to his native Scotland to Aberdeen.  Of course, there are a few more fanciful rumours sweeping the forums, as ever!

In lesser news the clashes between Forest and Leicester supporters has unfortunately also made some headlines.  The police suggested around 300 Leicester supporters visited the City Ground intent on causing trouble, which doesn’t surprise me given the charming convoy I encountered being escorted to the ground before the game, but I imagine we had our fair share of meatheads out in force as well.

As ever, if you read a Leicester fan site or forum you’ll find scathing criticism of Forest fans committing acts of violence with no provocation nor retailiation forthcoming, on Forest fan sites and forums the opposite – as ever, I’m sure the truth lies somewhere in the middle, with both sets of fans containing a sizeable element intent on causing problems for the police force.  Let’s hope there’s less of that kind of nonsense on 18th.

In more breaking news, Leicester have parted company with manager Martin Allen today as well – with no immediate replacement lined up.  Which is a shame really, as he clearly didn’t have his side firing on all cylinders during play – so it would’ve done us a favour if he were still there.  Fingers crossed the new manager still picks Hendersen in goal for the return cup tie!  It’s amazing what the shame of being outplayed by Forest can achieve!!

Leicester City cup game abandoned at half time..

Nottingham Forest – 1
Leicester City – 0
*match abandoned at half time – replay date as yet unconfirmed*

It was very much a case of fever pitch versus indifference at the City Ground this evening, but sadly the Carling Cup tie between us and Leicester was called off due to a mysterious illness to Leicester defender Clive Clarke.  Under such circumstances, of course, football becomes rather a secondary concern and I hope very much that I speak for all Forest fans in wishing Clive a speedy recovery.

Given recent events, it does seem odd to abandon a game when the player concerned was reportedly conscious and sitting up when taken to the hospital in an ambulance, but given the lack of information available I’m content to take the club’s stance on the situation and if they felt an abandonment was necessary, then so be it – there’s certainly more important things at stake if a player’s life is in any way at risk.

However, I will make mention of the football, as there was some promising stuff from Forest in the 45 minutes that were played.  Roared on by nigh on 5,300 fans, Leicester must have fancied their chances with probably a comparable number of Reds fans scattered around the ground.  It was Forest who started brightest though, interplay by Commons and Clingan brought an opportunity for a horrendously miskicked scissor kick from Krissy, but it almost found the target, forcing the dodgy-looking Leicester keeper into conceding a corner.

Sammy’s corner almost found the net on his own, but aforementioned dodgy keeper just about got it behind for another corner to the Reds.  This time Sammy found Chambers at the back stick, whose header came off the top of the bar and was headed clear.  Certainly Forest were starting strongly, amidst fears in the scattered home support that it was to be a game of chances and no conversions again.

It looked to me that shortly after this Grant was unfortunate not to win a penalty.  A defensive lapse put him clean through, but Kenton caught up with him quickly, and it appeared that there was contact before Holt went to ground in the box.  It’s hard to be sure from the crowd, but I’ve seen them given for a lot less, however we are all well aware of Grant’s ability to go down like a sack of spuds under the slightest contact.  It wasn’t particularly impressive to see him harangue the linesman and referee repeatedly after the incident either.

The goal came just before the half hour mark, a Commons corner this time was launched into the six yard box – Forest realising the Leicester keeper had little or no command of his area – and Junior Agogo was on hand to head the ball into the roof of the net, which certainly quietened down the already restless travelling Leicester support, although of course, it was a bit surreal hearing the scattered Reds fans celebrating the goal.

Agogo later tricked his way into creating a chance for Commons, but this time the keeper was on hand to make the save.  Leicester’s first real moment of danger came after 40 minutes, Iain Hume made good contact with the ball but Smith was equal to the challenge, tipping the ball around the post to concede another corner.  Back at the other end yet again Henderson struggled to deal with a high ball which fell to Agogo, whose shot was blocked for a corner once more.

The very end of the half saw Leicester’s most dominant passage of play, Wesolowski was on the end of a decent cross, turned and shot – he looked to have wrong-footed Smith who managed to make the save with his legs, before the defence cleared successfully, thus heralding half time with scattered applause for the home side, and none-too-little booing from the travelling Leicester supporters.

Then came the confusing announcements – now Forest, you really need to keep the fans better informed than this.  As I had a radio on my phone I was able to tune in and find out what was going on, but both sets of fans were restless and behaved in a manner that was inappropriate to the circumstances – I’d like to think through ignorance rather than idiocy, with a bit of slow-hand clapping, booing at announcements and a moron from down the A46 prancing around on the pitch before being promptly arrested.

Even after Smoulds came on to the pitch to announce that a Leicester player had been taken ill, elements of both sets of fans let the side down, and from reports I’ve heard of incidents outside the game (I certainly heard a few roars go up as I rather sensibly headed away from the away end after the game), suggests that a fair number of numbskulls supporting both sides were in attendance.

Of course, the selfish person in me wishes the game had carried on – certainly it’s not without precident in recent times, Cech’s injury didn’t halt the game, for example, and Forest were playing very well and of course, one goal to the good.  If I were really cynical then Leicester would also be at a psychological disadvantage by playing on – but I think Forest did the right thing in agreeing to the abandonment, and I applaud their decision to do so, so now we await a replay.

The final note, of course, is to wish a speedy and full recovery to Clive Clarke – and I feel proud that Forest were decent enough to agree to abandon the game.

Second security crackdown in days..

After a relatively trouble-free encounter with the Leeds fans, Forest’s wonderful PR machine has issued a warning to our forthcoming Carling Cup visitors.  Leicester City fans have clamoured to get their mits on the 5,300 tickets we issued for them – and reportedly many were disappointed to miss out on what they see as an opportunity to put a 35 year ghost to bed.

Police speak of an assumption they will make regarding any Leicester fans who arrive without tickets or pop up in the home ends, that they are there to make trouble – which is rather draconian, but I suppose a stance that makes sense given the standing that Forest have with most Foxes supporters.  It seems a shame that the perceived threat of trouble between the knuckledraggers amongst our respective supporters overshadows what should be an interest game.

The demand for Forest fans, however, is less high – they’ve decided to cease selling tickets in the Upper Bridgford stand.  This makes sense, the area would be a magnet for any of our own supporters wishing to cause trouble, although that will leave a few fans who have purchased tickets up there looking rather sore-thumb-like above the masses of Leicester fans beneath them.  Still, a couple more days and this silly circus will be over with.

Forest vs. Leeds United goals..

I suppose we should have these posted here, since we’ve not actually had a goal to look at ’til now!  What happens with Kris Commons’s freekick is still pretty unclear – hopefully tomorrow when Virgin Media stick their highlights online they’ll have a bit more clarity!

Whilst there is no footage of the myriad of missed chances, the video clip does tell the story – Leeds finished their chances well, with an element of luck regarding the misplaced shot for the second.  Forest scored a fluke.

Outgoing imminent this week?

Smoulds was inevitably evasive in his post match interview today, although a little more open than he often is.  He seemed to suggest that there is likely to be a player leaving over the next week before the transfer window closed, as well as refusing to rule out somebody coming in the other direction.

The rumours on the boards suggest Scunthorpe have expressed an interest in one of our strikers (surprising, they’ve hardly set the league on fire this year!), although as for which striker, nobody seems to know.  Grant Holt seems the favourite amongst the theorists, given his previous almost-leaving incidents and apparently poor relationship with the manager.

Times of transfers are incredibly frustrating for us mere fans – whilst I understand that you can’t just snap your fingers as a manager and bring in players of a sufficient quality to improve the squad, the problems in certain positions to us have been so blatantly obvious it does make you wonder why we haven’t been more aggressive in the transfer market.

Look at Leeds, as a case in point, they couldn’t sign players until right before the season started – yet they have a keen squad with players for every position, which we just don’t quite seem to have right now.  Certainly injuries play a part of this, but the idea of having a squad is to be able to absorb injuries.

So keep an eye on the news feeds this week, and wait for the inevitable rumour-mill furore as the transfer window draws to a halt.  Certainly if we let a striker go, I’ll be very unhappy if we don’t sign at least one to replace him, preferably two really.  It would be nice to have some cover for the right wing whilst Davies is out, wouldn’t it?