Both the Blues and the Reds continued their impressive runs with their league fixtures, of course – we know all about the mighty Reds taking a memorable three point haul from the Hawthornes. A day later in the West Midlands and Manchester United faced McLeish’s Birmingham, and could only come away with a point after a spirited performance from the home side.
So we both still very much face each other in the guise of immovable objects and/or irresistable forces – who is which, I’m not sure – but these are both sides who are not in the habit of losing. It should prove an interesting encounter. Forest aren’t able to field Shorey, but welcome back Guy Moussi after an impressive return against the Baggies. The extent of Earnshaw’s hamstring injury isn’t clear after the striker was withdrawn from the bench at the last minute on Friday.
At the weekend Alex McLeish named the same team for the ninth consecutive league game – whether he chooses to shuffle as much as he did at the City Ground remains to be seen, certainly I would expect him to have better foresight than Roberto Di Matteo did if he sees what at first glance might look like a defensive 4-5-1 formation. The Blues picked up no fresh injuries against United, and given some of the fringe-player injuries picked up in our first game we will probably see a stronger starting line-up.
Billy might well see this as an opportunity to shuffle the pack a bit, Lewis McGugan must be champing at the bit to get some game time as Raddy Majewski threatens to obliterate his reputation as our livewire in midfield, also the likes of Nathan Tyson might fancy a start with Cohen possibly asked to move back to left back. Alternatively Gunter could switch sides to accommodate Perch at right-back.
After my ridiculously pensive predictions for the West Brom game it seems that Forest are a team who refused to be second-guessed, but I can’t help but be cautious. We had one hell of a Lord Mayor’s Show on Friday – indeed, we’ve had several weeks of, for the most part, excellence – gradually I find the expectation of good results alluring. But being the cynic that I am, it’s hard to ascede to that.
Personally I’d like to see another good performance against a side that continues to put in an impressive shift in the top flight. Of course, ideally I’d like us to win – but wouldn’t be heartbroken to exit the cup at this stage – but this is another really useful benchmark for us as we start to dare to look at the league table, at our performances, at our squad and at our manager and realise – damn, we’re actually a decent side at this level!
Plus even if we lose we can revert to an unbeaten in x league (away) games type record – easily done! Looking forward to it, which is some degree of step up from how I felt before the original fixture, bizarrely!
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