Middlesbrough vs. Forest preview..

Over 3,000 Reds will be making the trip up north to the Riverside Stadium to cheer on Forest tomorrow.  That in itself is probably testament to the cautious optimism that is starting to ferment gently around the City Ground.  Few are getting too carried away, but the fact we go up to Boro above them in the league is a welcome scenario.

Gordon Strachan’s arrival at Teeside hasn’t had the fairytale start – but he’s bolstered his out-of-form side with the likes of Marcus Bent, Dave Kitson and former Forest loanee Isaiah Osbourne in midfield.  Certainly it will prove a stern test for the Reds after a couple of weeks break, who will still be without Nathan Tyson, and have a half-fit-at-best Dexter Blackstock possibly available.

In better news on the injury front, Robert Earnshaw should almost certainly be fit to take part – I’d expect him to start, and Perch is continuing his quest for fitness and is likely to feature on the bench.  I expect a cagey lineup from Forest as we’ve seen of late, with the quick midfielders given the role of supporting a lone striker.

I expect Boro to be more positive, with their attack-minded loanees and the dangerous Adam Johnson – so there’ll be a degree of early storm-weathering to be done.  However, with a moderately impatient home crowd that will be outsung by the travelling support I’m hoping for a spirited performance from Forest.

Middlesbrough certainly shouldn’t hold any fear for us, we’ve already beaten them this season in the cup – although with a change in manager and some additions to their squad they are a different prospect.  I can’t help but think, if forced into a prediction, that there’s a good chance of the unbeaten run continuing – but no return to winning ways for the mighty Reds.

Looking forward to the trip though, if not the drive – see you all up there! YOOOOOOOOOOU REDS!