Third vs Fourth, and Swansea will have revenge on their minds as we pinched three points from them at the Liberty Stadium somewhat against the balance of play earlier in the season back in December. Of course, there’s also the not-inconsiderable matter of new-boy George Boyd likely to be making his debut for the mighty Reds, I would guess on the left wing since that seems to be his most effective position from the assorted things I’ve read.
In other team news Garath McCleary is available again following suspension, and aside from the very unlikely scenario of Julian Bennett making a comeback (after playing 45 minutes against Coventry in a behind-closed-doors friendly in the week). Benno has also secured himself a contract extension, which I think is good news – whilst he’s been out for 14 months and is still recuperating from a very awkward injury, it’s good Forest are giving him every chance.
Our visitors, meanwhile, have been having rather a torrid time on the injury front. Talented-but-perpetually-injured Ferrie Bodde has done his knee again and will be out for the season. Also out for the Forest clash are Allen, Orlandi and Lopez through injury, and the heroic Gorka Pintado is still serving suspension after his magnificent tackle on Robbie Savage against Derby. Sparking, unsurprisingly, a massive brawl from the Derby players.
Forest target Darren Pratley is in the ‘maybe’ camp, certainly his absence would be of benefit to Forest as the midfielder has proven a key man in the Swans promotion bid this season – prompting Billy Davies to go for him hell-for-leather in the January transfer window. His knee injury was thought quite serious (I guess they can be forgiven for feeling pessimistic!) but is apparently not as bad as first feared, so he may well play.
Swansea have also added oft-thorn-in-Forest’s side Shefki Kuqi to their ranks – in my head at least he’s up there with Rob Hulse in big immobile strikers we seem to struggle with. Our visitors come to us on a 12 game unbeaten run, whilst we of course have the opportunity to claim our tenth consecutive home league win, which would be a rather good achievement, I reckon! All in all, it won’t prove an easy game for either side.
I’m half expecting Billy to bring Cohen back to left-back to relieve the increasingly exposed-looking Perch who has been manfully be often ineffectively covering there. Having said that, if Boyd is deployed as an actually left winger, like, on the wing and that – well, there might actually be some cover and/or an outlet for someone who can’t be considered a natural left-back. Billy is a difficult man to predict at the best of times!
It will certainly be good to get back to the City Ground after another disappointing away trip (which is, in customary fashion it seems, available on DVD!). With the added incentive of seeing our new number 20, hopefully a decent and supportive crowd will be able to play their part in spurring Forest on to continue their impressive run of home form and revive our ailing hopes of catching those automatic promotion places.
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