Forest vs. Reading preview..

Saturday’s opponents will still be on a high come the weekend after their dramatic last-gap win at Anfield this evening.  A last minute penalty for the Royals took the tie to extra time, in which a Shane Long header – his first goal of the season – was enough to see the Championship side deservedly ease past Liverpool to claim a fourth round tie with Burnley.  Massive congratulations are due to them!

Of course, this is nothing compared to the monumental achievement that happened a bit closer to home whilst Forest were playing at St. Andrews.  Such drama, and such excitement occurred at Pride Park that our wooly neighbours are able to avail themselves of a DVD of their spectacular and unexpected triumph via penalty shootout over… Millwall!  It will come in handy for the 23,000 or so Derby fans who didn’t make it to the game.

So, anyway, back on topic.  Tonight’s was Reading’s first win under their caretaker boss – he’s been rather a 1-1 specialist over 90 minutes, Reading rarely fail to score, but even more so fail to concede.  It’s been a tough season so far for the Royals – they find themselves just above the relegation zone, below Derby even.  They’ve only won five games – tellingly, four of them away from the Madejski Stadium.

I expect familiar faces to be restored by Forest – McKenna, Wilson, Shorey, McKenna and Blackstock should almost certainly be back – and Billy also has the options of restoring Majewski, Anderson and possibly Earnie who is back in training according to his Twitter feed.  Whether Billy opts for the 4-5-1 or 4-4-2 approach will probably hinge on Earnie’s fitness, and of course what he thinks will work best to unlock Reading.

The Royals have demonstrated tonight they have a sting in their tail – McAnuff was certainly the standout player for them, and could have capped off the evening with one of the best goals of the FA Cup for some time.  The midfielder picked up the ball in his own half and jinked into the box past numerous Liverpool defenders and just placing his shot wide.

So an intriguing encounter.  Personally I think Billy’s approach for the cup game was right – and despite succumbing to defeat at Birmingham I don’t think confidence will be dented as the less frequent players put in a more than credible performance and were unfortunate to lose.  We still have a hefty unbeaten league run to defend – and I’m sure Billy will have the boys well drilled.

We of course also have had additional recovery time – key players have had over a week, even those who featured at Birmingham have had an extra day – and no additional drain of extra time.  So can our fresh-legged Reds overcome the slightly more tired visitors after their Lord Mayor’s show?  It doesn’t always work like that, but I wasn’t sorry to see their game go to extra time!

Perhaps what they do lack is pace up front – whilst Rasiak has a decent enough record against us, our defence has looked solid against aerial assaults, so it’s through their tricky midfielders and wingers that Reading will be more likely to do us damage.  It promises to be a tough game, I think, but on our day we can beat anybody – certainly I honestly think Reading will think us a more daunting opponent than a second-half Liverpool sans Torres and Gerrard.

12 Responses

  1. I think the next 2 weeks could be a really important part of our season; we have two winnable home games against Reading and QPR and we will go into both well-rested.

    Whereas WBA have two ‘tricky’ games against Newcastle and Ipswich – the permutations are (almost) endless, but I do believe that where we are at the end of these 2 weeks and the difference between ourselves and The Baggies at that time will now determine our season.

    Moreover, by then there will still be a few days of the January transfer window left to consolidate our plans for the rest of the season.

    I’m beginning to think that we might have some very interesting away journeys next season!!

    U Reds.

  2. West brom and newcastle still have to fit in cup matches and games in hand,so I have faith in Billy for an automatic promotion place.
    I can´t see him letting it slip now.
    hopefully Reading will be feeling it in the second half on saturday !!!

  3. There’s only two Paul McKennas, two Paul McKennas!!

    I thought Gunnarsson was their best player and they were distinctly average for 70 minutes against an utterly crap Liverpool side.

    We should hammer them on Sat!!

    Anyone at the CG tonight for the Super Sevens presentation evening?

  4. Greetings from Poland again. We still can’t stand current weather here. Schools, factories are closed. Hard to get somewhere. Anyway, it’s good moment to talk abt football. Radek Majewski and Grzes Rasiak are my countrymans. U know Raddy well but how is ur knowledge abt this 2nd 1? Rasiak in majority of polish eyes looks like . . . “wood”. Tall, bad pace and acceleration, but he has sth special. . . It’s killer instinct. He can touch ball 2times during match and scores 4 times. That’s Rasiak. The best weapon against him is fast, strong dc, couse Grzogorz is slow like ketchup. I like them both, but wish Raddy and U easy win. Bye and sorry for my “language level”.

  5. I thought Reading played well last night but as you say, we’ve a day’s extra rest, we rested key players, and we’re the in form team. They on the other hand have played their full strength side through extra time. Whilst Liverfool looked poor it’ll have still taken a huge amount of extra effort from the Reading players to compete and ultimately contain Liverfool.

    The best thing about this game is that if we win it we’ll only be 2 points off Newcastle! Well, until Monday at the very least!

    Not one for getting too carried away but with WBA looking to bounce back against Newcastle on Monday if results go our way we could be in pole position after the QPR game!! It’d worth the short-term kudos even if we then lost a few following this (Derby match not included!).

    Either way its a game that marks how far we’ve come and how quick things can change…. at the start of last season I was over the moon with a draw on the first day against Steve Coppell’s Reading, (especially because Earnie nearly nicked it towards the end), now 18mths on I’m thinking this should be another 2 or 3-niller!!

    Youuuu REDSSS!

    PS. Great blog btw, its always one of the ones I click on first on the Forest newsnow page.

  6. Polish F!

    ‘Wood’ we say ‘tool’ but your language level is very good. Hope the weather starts to improve it is here today perhaps a return to normality.

    Reading did very well but thought Mills was not the player he looked at Donny?

  7. Oh yeah “tool” is the best word. Thx

  8. Hilarious about the derby dvd, hahaha!

  9. Looks like QPR are giving the sheep sha**ers a run for their money in the comedy stakes after getting rid of Harty after only a month. I must admit I did wonder about Harty’s judgement in relation to accepting the job, but thought he’d last a little longer!
    Anyway since he was such a good servant to the club & was the last manager since the present incumberant to provide us with a style of football to be proud of, I’m sorry to hear about the shabby way he’s been treated- make sure you get a good pay off Harty!!!
    As I’m feeling particularly charitable has anyone noticed that behind the scenes we’re also becoming a little more professional & competant- I think the tickets for servicemen & one guest for a fiver for the Reading match is a fantastic gesture. Never thought I’d say it, but well done Mr Arthur!!!

  10. Unquestionably correct. As a Reading fan, we do see today’s game as harder – and the extra time will not help. But…we aren’t bad away…a terrible defeat at Plymouth notwithstanding…and surely the players will go into the match with confidence. Matt Mills, a summer target for Forest, has finally been restored to the team and did well in both Liverpool matches – but Reading are creaky at the back and it’s hard to see Forest not creating chances. A routine 2-0 or maybe just a single goal victory for Forest would be my prediction.

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