Isn’t close-season dull – as England go through their customary underwhelming preparations for the World Cup in South Africa, all things Forest become very quiet. And when the news is quiet, the rumours go into overdrive. Despite rumours of a rift and an impending departure for Billy, he and Nigel Doughty have met and agreed their joint purpose going forward, and now comes the inevitable focus on player signings.
I think it’s safe to say that Pratley remains a key target for the Reds – and to that you can add any number of names. Cardiff City’s impending financial meltdown appears to have been delayed through new investors – that said, the amounts being touted might well keep the wolves from the door, but I’m not sure it will sustain the maintenance of such a talented squad amassed with money they didn’t have in the first place. Certainly from a ‘sense of fair play’ perspective I would hope not.
Other definite news since my last post is that Millwall elevate themselves back the Championship via the play-offs, so congratulations to them and commiserations to Swindon Town – their opponents. This gives us a complete picture of next season’s Championship participants – unlike last season, the bookies are struggling to pick clear winners this time – with the Reds in the mix amongst the early favourites after last season’s third placed finish.
Of course, early odds are just that – an early indicator. Our activity (or lack thereof) in the transfer market will determine our real chances, although given our earliest transfer activity was announced in late June last season – we might have a wait on our hands in that respect, and a great deal of rumour mongering before that, I would imagine! Boyd, Snodgrass, Beattie and whoever else we’ve been linked with will have to wait!
I’ve picked up the below odds from Betfair today just to illustrate the earliest view (Betfair betting is very sensitive to how actual punters are backing teams), it’s interesting – if a bit worrying given the clear weight of expectation the betting public have on us – and how we tend to quail under too much weight of expectation historically! Then again, I always was a pessimist…
So early indications would be a close old time of it – certainly I would expect Middlesbrough and Reading to pose a much bigger challenge this season than last, perhaps Queens Park Rangers will finally fulfil their potential under a more stable management team, Cardiff, Burnley, Ipswich, Leicester are all potential contenders – far from being a division not to fear, I see a lot of potentially well matched teams.
Throw in the inevitable unexpected risers (of which we and Leicester were amongst last season) and you could have a Leeds or a Derby elevating themselves beyond expectation too. Equally you have the unexpected fallers – indeed, it’s quite normal for vanquished play-off competitors to fall back to the obscurity of mid-table in the hang-over season. Which is why the levels of expectation upon the Reds worries me a bit – Billy too, going by his comments.
Hopefully that’s just me being my usual cautious self though – but next season is going to be tough, although I’m not about to start worrying about it or making serious predictions until we’ve seen a bit more activity in the transfer market. Until then, I shall try to rouse my interest levels in the World Cup – difficult to get excited by over-experimented-in friendlies (and indeed, I’d suggest difficult to get worried by them too – take note, British Press!).
Filed under: Thoughts |