Forest vs. Newcastle United preview..

Like it or not, Newcastle are the team that everyone wants to beat this year in the Championship – and they’re wearing their media mantle of ‘big club in the second tier’ rather well by sitting pretty at the top of the pile at present.  Forest are of course in a good vein of form – however, that run has come against largely low-lying league table dwellers meaning Saturday will present a very different kind of challenge.

A near sell-out attendance is expected despite the Sky cameras also broadcasting the game, so the atmosphere should be pretty good – particularly from the large travelling contingent expected from Tyneside.  There will of course be the added interest for Forest fans that this will mark the return of both Marlon Harewood and of course Smoulderwood to the City Ground – neither of whom I can imagine garnering a negative reception.

So, on to team news – Earnie will be unavailable due to picking up an injury with Wales, although he’s had to largely content himself with a place on the bench of late anyway.  He’s expected to be out for up to four weeks.  Gunter has also been on duty with Wales so hopefully he can come through unscathed.  Raddy Majewski returned from a Poland U23 fixture with no problems, so Earnie aside we have no new issues.

Our visitors have doubts over both Steven Taylor and Fabricio Coloccini – giving them a bit of a headache in central defence.  Enrique has recovered from a hamstring injury so could feature at left-back.  Key players Barton and Ameobi are both expected to be sidelined by injury, although the bad news for us is that Marlon Harewood has apparently recovered from a foot injury and will be available (no offence, Marlon – but I don’t want you scoring past us!!).

The official preview points at Alan Smith as the man to watch.  The former striker-turned-midfield-stalwart has only missed one game for the Geordies this season (through suspension), and has put in a number of eye-catching performances.  Maybe that’s where Billy got the idea to play Joe Garner in midfield?  That said, they boast an impressive squad for this level all over the park, without singling out one player – and despite their injury concerns.

The Reds need to be prepared to take the game to Newcastle if they are to prevail, I think.  I’m not the most naturally optimistic person in the world anyway (arf, understatement or what?) so unfortunately my spider senses are pointing at a reasonably comprehensive defeat – however, if we can take the battle to them then it could go our way.  If Forest at their best turn up we could just do it.

But I won’t be betting on it!

On a completely unrelated note, I noticed a further example of The Daily Mirror being a bunch of abhorrent c**ts.  Although I shan’t further dignify their vitriolic nonsense with any further comment.