Rumour alert… Billy Sharp?

Please note the use of the word rumour.  Two sources, both forums, one Blades, one Forest (albeit posted by a Leeds fan – odd!).  Unclear whether it’s a permanent or loan move, given that it’s unclear whether it’s just a load of tosh, I suppose we can forgive this lack of clarity.

Certainly it would cheer me up a bit, despite the unkind description on the Blades site… but I’m not holding my breath!  I restate, merely passing on a tidbit of gossip, I’m not claiming there’s any truth in it and I know no more than what is posted in the links above.  I’ve got everything crossed, though!

If it turns out to be a wind-up (probable!) then it’s just another reason to dislike Leeds!

Aside from the on-the-face-of-it unrealistic suggestion that something positive could happen today when we’re all geared up for a good moan, there’s a worrying comment around Tyson and Bolton on the Blades forum.  It’s probably all bollocks anyway.

And it’s goodbye to Lennon…

I kinda thought he’d be off, but after a late appearance against Swansea wondered if perhaps he would see out the season – but today Neil Lennon has gone to Wycombe Wanderers on a free transfer.  Smoulders spoke of wanting the midfielder to stick around, but was understanding – and hardly reassuring – of his desire for regular first team football.

So it seems that Lenny was a bit of an expensive mistake, in terms of wages.  He has been a bit like Marmite to Forest fans, I ‘get’ what he brings to a side, and I defy anyone to argue that we looked more composed with him on the field than without him.  So I’m disappointed to see him go, and frankly, since he played in exactly the way I expected him to – why on Earth did we sign him in the first place if that wasn’t what was wanted?

Lennon now links up with former team-mate Paul Lambert at Wycombe, and personally I wish him luck and am disappointed to see him leave.  Could it be that once again we are set to see out a January transfer window without any incomings, and a significant outgoing (not withstanding the lad from Bromley) – or is this news launched with plans for another announcement to quell unrest?  Who knows.

I guess if Lennon really wasn’t part of Smoulderwood’s plans, then given the wages he’s likely to be on it makes sense to get rid – that said, I can’t think Wycombe are matching our wages to him so presumably he goes with a likely payoff from us as well.  So farewell, Neil – thanks for your efforts and sorry it didn’t work out.

I’m gonna wait ’til the midnight hour…

… which I realise is a completely fruitless pursuit, as I type there are four hours remaining of the transfer window, after which we can spend a month speculating and foaming-at-the-mouth about potential loan signings.  It would seem that today, as I posted last night, Barry Robson did indeed opt for Celtic – and who can really blame him?

The Leon Best saga rumbles on, with Coventry really rather taking the piss with their valuation of a player they paid £650k for in the summer – turning down another bid (reported to be £1.2m – but who knows how accurate that is?), despite Dowie apparently resigned to losing him for the right price.  All this on the back of him getting shot of Kevin Kyle and Dele Adebola!

Given the magnitude of the bids in question, it’s hard to criticise Forest’s ambition – two million-pound plus bids (reportedly), and whilst we could be cynical and suggest neither targets were likely to materialise, I think that would be a step too far.  That said, it’s infuriating how late in the day we seem to have left our dealings again.

I realise selling clubs will hold out ’til late to maximise their likely returns – however how difficult can it be to give the team you want to do business with a call and say “Ay up, mate – how much d’you want for the player, then?” – sure, you might not offer that, but it should stop this seemingly pointless to-ing and fro-ing.

Alas, though, there’s nowt to report – and I’m consigned to another night of sitting up later than I ought to through fear of missing out on a breaking piece of news!  Any sensible person would of course ignore it ’til the morning when all will become apparent, but I never claimed to be a sensible person!

We’re not signing Robson…

Because it appears the lure of Celtic will take him to Glasgow instead, which is no great surprise.  It was suggested that Strachan had cooled his interest in the Dundee United captain, but I guess the bid we launched yesterday forced his hand into action – once the player has the options of us or Celtic, there’s really no choice, is there?

I wondered whether Robson was a mitigation for losing Commons, which should mean that – assuming we don’t have another player lined up for that purpose – it would be high folly for us to accept any bids for Krissy regardless of how lucrative given the shortness of his contracted time with us.  Of course, such a scenario isn’t exactly without precident *cough* Southall *cough*, so hopefully we’ve learned our lesson.

So there’s another glimmer of hope and optimism extinguished – what the next twenty-four hours will bring remains to be seen, probably a further dose of frustration, irritability, arguing on internet forums and ultimately no signings – and so shall end another glorious transfer window for Nottingham Forest FC.

Of course, should my grumblings come to pass, I might moan a bit less if we get a resounding win on saturday against Bournemouth!

Through the keyhole…

Who lives in a house like this?  Below are the notes made by a worker from a cleaning company to help the other cleaners upon their first day of cleaning the house of Colin Smoulderwood.  It makes interesting reading for you voyeuristic types, and of course, from somebody’s home we can make all sorts of links with their professional life!

The first job was to do the dusting, upon searching high and low I finally found the duster in the fruit bowl.  On the mantelpiece were some brass ornaments that needed a polish, I eventually found a tin of Brasso inside the fridge, next to a bottle of Cillit Bang which I used to clean the sink and hob.

The kitchen surface cleaner was to be found inside the toilet cistern, and the bathroom cleaner in the larder cupboard in the kitchen.  Deciding to tackle the hoovering, I found the vacuum cleaner in the shed at the bottom of the large garden.  The Toilet Duck was in the loft, and the toilet brush in the umbrella holder in the porch.

I had to throw some things out in the kitchen, as the client seems to keep his milk in the microwave, cheese on top of the television and salad produce pegged out on the washing line.  Certainly this is the most challenging house I’ve ever had to tackle, everything in the house seems to be placed in an inappropriate place!

Hmm, I wonder what conclusions we can draw from the way that Smoulders home life seems to be organised?  It seemed a much more amusing idea when I thought of it, but sod it!

T-minus twenty-four and a bit hours, and counting…

It’s the same every year, isn’t it?  If there was one reason to abolish the transfer window system, it would be to save my fingernails and hairline from the endless chewings and pullings that they suffer respectively as the end of January approaches!

Today’s indirect developments saw Coventry offload Kevin Kyle on loan to Wolves, and Dele Adebola to Bristol City – leaving them somewhat thin-on-the-ground for strikers, although this fan site doesn’t seem to think that that automatically precludes Leon Best to us making it three departures.  I’ve kinda half-given-up on that, but apparently the Reds and Coventry will be meeting tomorrow to discuss the player.

Of course, out of the blue after mere paper rumours came some kind of official confirmation from Dundee United that we had submitted something that presumably approaches their valuation of skipper Barry Robson.  He has apparently been playing on the left wing for Dundee this season, which dovetails neatly in with the rumoured interest in Kris Commons from QPR to the tune of £1.5m!

So what can we conclude?  Very little, really!  Clearly a striker is rightfully still on the agenda, but I can’t help but think that the move for Robson suggests that we are anticipating an outgoing too, Commons seems the obvious one as he’s almost out of contract, so a sizeable offer would be tempting to the Reds – I just hope that if that were to happen, we secure his replacement first and don’t do a Nicky Southall!

Good lord it’s irritating!

Seven-figure bid for Barry Robson?

Dundee United have informed the BBC that Forest have, after apparently offering £300k for the services of the skipper Barry Robson, that we’ve gone back with a seven-figure bid for him this very afternoon, at around 5pm.  Their chairman goes on to refer to us as Notts Forest, but I suppose we can let him off if he decides to accept!

I’ve not really commented on this one so far as the reports have been far from conclusive – but Dundee have been fairly consistent in their message that they want the player to stay with them, and rejected a sizeable offer of £750k plus add-ons from Championship side Burnley.  Certainly he’s been on goalscoring form lately for Dundee, so he sounds like an ambitious target!

It’s early days to be getting excited, but a bid of £1million or more for a club at our level is pretty unusual, if not unprecedented!  So it does make me a little on the excited side – although with apparent interest from fellow Scottish Premier side Celtic in the offing, I imagine the lure of playing at our level might be fairly limited.  It’s certainly one to keep an eye on, though and has cheered me up slightly from not winning tonight!

A bitter-sweet point against the table-toppers..

Nottingham Forest – 0
Swansea City – 0

I’m not in as good a mood as I ought to be, really, considering.  Swansea City showed in spells tonight why they’re where they are in the league, and I don’t think it’s unfair to say that Forest matched them for the most part – and indeed, definitely created more clear-cut chances (as, arguably, you would expect of the home team).  De Vries in the Swansea goal was in superb form, sadly for us!

Smoulders started with his infernal 4-5-1 nonsense, with Grant starting on the right wing, Commons on the left, and Tyson in the middle cutting a lone figure.  The three of them swapped roles throughout the first half, leaving us exposed on the flanks as we’ve seen quite often.  How I long to see him play people where they’re more effective, although at times tonight we did look quite good.

The first half was a classic ‘end to end’ encounter – both sides looking more comfortable in attack than when defending.  Swansea undoubtedly started the stronger, with Forest taking a while to get into the match (possibly linked to Swansea going in very late pre-kickoff and actually delaying the start of the game slightly after the Reds had warmed up as usual).

The first meaningful attack fell to the Reds though, McGugan played the ball to Commons whose dangerous cross flashed across the six yard box, evading the Reds players in the box (there was probably only one of ’em, but let’s be optimistic!).  Shortly after this Wes almost headed the ball beyond Smith, but it was heading wide and the defender got back to make sure at the expense of an early corner.

Swansea broke quickly, and in numbers – and their quick inter-passing often left our defenders chasing shadows, however struggled to create clear-cut chances.  Their first chance was from the excellent Andy Robinson who shot low, but pretty much straight at Smith who had a relatively easy save to make. Robinson had the next chance too, again Smith making relatively easy work of it diving to his left.

Forest started to build some momentum and pressure, McGugan did well to force a corner from a diving De Vries.  Shortly after this another corner was won when Painter did well to prevent Grant from shooting.  Possibly the best chance of the game followed when Grant turned and shot firmly from close range, prompting a superb save for the Jack ‘keeper.

Swansea countered this with an effort from Bauza which Smith needed to be on his toes to prevent, and this prompted further pressure from the away side – with Robinson again the threat, but Smith once again able to save.  Forest went back on the attack, and again Grant was denied by a superb save from De Vries after good work from McGugan.

As half time approached the game ebbed and flowed from end to end, Swansea applied pressure without creating clearcut chances, and Forest started to push forward.  However just as they’d started this, Swansea attacked with menace, forcing a foolish foul from Morgan on the edge of the area which Robinson struck well, but wide of the post.

Half time saw a parade of 250 members of the 2nd Battalion Mercian Regiment (part of whom were the Sherwood Foresters), who received a suitably great reaction from Forest and Swansea fans alike having returned from a six-month tour of Afghanistan.  It was great to see, and handy to know there were a load of soldiers on hands incase the away fans kicked off – that said, those that visited seemed pretty good humoured compared to their perhaps, on today’s evidence, ill-deserved reputation.

The second half was a scrappy start, and whilst Swansea still looked menacing coming forward I got the sense their foot was off the gas slightly.  Chambers did well to get down the right and find Commons, whose cross was heading perfectly for Grant Holt to connect – unfortunately the eager Matt Thornhill connected first, and was only able to direct his header wide.

Smith was able to claim the ball just infront of Bodde, after a decent ball from Robinson again.  Shortly after this a strangely positive substitution from the manager saw Emile Sinclair introduced for the increasingly-tired-looking Matt Thornhill.  Shortly after this Lennon was introduced for McGugan – who struggled today, it’s fair to say.

Tyson had a lot more time and room to get closer when he stabbed a rather hopeful long-range effort which was never likely to trouble a chap on the kind of form De Vries had been showing today!  The game was fairly scrappy and Swansea were content to keep possession and probe gently for openings, which weren’t forthcoming.

Towards the end Chambers got a header on target from a Commons cross, but it wasn’t firm and again was fairly easily dealt with – and the final play of note was excellent work from Tyson down the bye-line, playing the ball just behind Holt who arguably should have halted his run to give himself more goal to aim at – but t’was not to be.

So a frustrating game on some levels – Swansea are undeniably a very good side, and compared to the opponents I’ve seen this season worthy of their place atop the league.  We had chances, but I don’t think we made it easy with an isolated front man – for a formation that should give us width in midfield, our flanks looked worryingly exposed and the excellent Robinson was often left completely unmarked in his position on the left wing.

However, a draw is a decent result – and probably fair.  Forest had more chances, but Swansea had more quality in possession, and certainly had a few chances themselves.  Doncaster winning puts us down to third, and effectively puts the title out of range for us – in my opinion.  It now becomes vitally important that we start to fix our away form – starting with Bournemouth on saturday.

So I feel a bit grumpy, and feel a bit silly for that – it’s true that had I been in Smoulderwood’s shoes I would’ve been tempted to chuck Davies on with five minutes to go, indeed, if I were Smoulderwood I would perhaps have fielded him on the right wing and actually played a 4-4-2 formation since we had the personnel for it, but I’m not he – and I can’t really justify getting on his back after what was, in spells, a very decent performance.

In his post-match comments he finally confirmed that Garath McCleary has actually signed from Bromley.  He spoke of his need for acclimatising to training full time, and building fitness up – unsurprisingly.  He described him as a talented winger who – upon attaining fitness – will definitely be the running for first team consideration, so that’s something to look forward to I suppose.

So well done Reds, another day De Vries would’ve just missed out on one of those super-human saves he pulled off – but alas, t’was not another day, so we must content ourselves with a point.  At least Leeds and Carlisle lost – now is the time for us to start sorting out our own results though, we’re not going to remain so lucky with results elsewhere!

Best deal set to run to the wire, but there are contingencies..

An interesting revelation in the Evening Post today.  It’s not new news that Coventry are playing silly-buggers over our offer for Leon Best.  Whilst the figures being touted are – I suspect – somewhat inflated from the truth, the Sky Blues are clearly holding out ’til the last possible minute to try and squeeze (extort?) every last drop of value they can from a young lad who wants to leave them.

The interesting bit of the article was that we have apparently already agreed a deal in principle with Watford to bring Hoskins in on loan with a view to a permanent move, presumably if Best isn’t allowed to move.  I wonder whether this may be linked to the sell-on clause that would have been activated by Marlon King’s move to Wigan from the Hornets.  Either way, Hoskins in my view would be a very solid addition to the squad – and fits with Smoulderwood’s pattern in targeting Nottingham-linked players.

Less exciting is the fallback position of Matty Fryatt (or ‘Fatty Diet’ as he’s affectionately known by fans of Leicester reserves).  The article reveals we attempted to get him at the same time as Benno from Walsall, which is no surprise – we were widely linked with him at the time.  Although it would seem that Fryatt is more of an assumption from the journalist rather than anything linked with actual approaches – unlike the Hoskins story which suggests that some kind of discussion has already taken place.

So perhaps this January we may not be left seething that our activities have come to naught, indeed, if it comes to it I wouldn’t be adverse to securing Hoskins on loan and acquiring the services of Leon Best if Coventry decide to play ball.  The fact that the player has made it abundantly clear he wants out, and there seems to be fairly limited interest in him from elsewhere, would seem to give Forest the upper hand in this one.  We shall see.

High-profile Agogo set for product endorsements?

Childish, but amusing.  A commenter on the site called bedfordred spotted an article in the Gazetta Dello Sport that likened our own Junior Agogo to George Foreman, the boxer-turned-kitchen-appliance-salesman.  The Ghanian striker has been making the headlines for his performances in the African Nations Cup – so surely a lucrative product-endorsement is only a matter of time for the Forest hitman?

Hmm, no wonder I never made it as a graphic designer!  For any Italian speakers, the article that makes the comparison is just here.