Forest vs. Middlesbrough preview..

Our visitors this evening are Middlesbrough, probably the strongest thread that runs between the two clubs is an old one – Brian Clough rose to prominence as a player for Boro back in the day, and of course reached the apex of his phenominal managerial career as a manager at the City Ground (in both cases, with Peter Taylor as part of his team!).  Both Middlesbrough and Nottingham proudly boast statues of the great man, paid for through fund-raising from their local populations.

Anyway, I digress.  Tonight doesn’t come at an ideal time for us – already stretched to beyond-paper-thinness by injuries to our defenders, we are likely to not have the services of Joel Lynch for tonight’s clash either after he picked up a back injury at QPR that meant he didn’t come out for the second half.  So a defensive reshuffle looks pretty much nailed on – depending on how seriously Billy is taking the competition of course.

Gunter can cover right or left back, and either McCleary or Cohen could cover the other full back berth.  Wes and Chambers are the only senior centreback options – although there’s a possibility Billy may give youngster Mitchell an opportunity of some first team action.  I’m half expecting him to field Paul Smith in place of Camp as he did in the first round against Bradford.  Once we get out of the defensive area then the selection posers become a case of lots of options, rather than barely any.

McGugan of course is missing following his fractured cheekbone against Watford, but there are plenty of permutations and combinations of midfield options depending on the shape Billy wants to play – including playing strikers on the wing as seems to be a new fad of his.  If Cohen is taken up with defensive duties then it’s likely that McKenna and Majewski will feature in the centre of the park as options look a little thin there with Moussi, Perch and McGugan all unavailable through injury.

Up front there aren’t any injury concerns at all – so that will be down to whichever option Billy wants to test out.  I’d hope to see Earnie involved, though – perhaps his inclusion or lack thereof would be a good indicator regarding the supposed resolve Forest have in not selling him; with both tonight’s visitors and their North-Eastern neighbours Newcastle United supposedly interested in securing his services.

Boro have a few injuries of their own to contend with – but frankly, I can’t see much past a comfortable evening’s work for them unless they opt for a severely weakened team.  Perhaps if they show that level of complacency we might be able to pull off a surprise result – but I’m not heading down to the City Ground tonight expecting much beyond a fairly limp performance from the Reds, unfortunately!  God I’m in a grumpy mood today!

I wonder if Notts County will loan Sol Campbell to us?

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4 Responses

  1. As a Boro fan hopefully I can put your mind at rest about Earnie. I agree he’s a good player, though worth £5m I don’t know. That said, most Boro supporters don’t think there’d be any point in acquiring him now that we have Leroy Lita on the books – what we’re really after is a target man in the Hulse/Beckford mould, and for all Southgate’s faults he doesn’t appear to stock too many similar players as in the ‘good’ old Robson days, when targets emerged through a fog of booze and we used to sign three strikers at once just to see who’d be the best.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Cheers Mike, I don’t think there’s much in the rumours of you guys being interested in Earnie – you’re right that he’s in the same mould as Lita.

      Who knows what goes on at Newcastle!

  2. Come on nffc boro are an ok side had a decent start but theres hardly huge gulfs between us and them.We gave west brom a very good game and were really unlucky not to win it.

    I think we will match them tonight and most of the players will rise to the game.My best mates a boro fan i cant handle getting roasted for a limpwristed show.

    U reds

    2.-1 forest

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