Ah, match previews are back on the agenda – just as by the end of the season (particularly for us when they involve play-offs!) I’m ready for a bit of a break, but the back end of July and into August the season can’t start soon enough for me. A chance to talk about actual events rather than who’s been seen in various unlikely locations in Nottingham and therefore must be signing for us and all that kind of thing.
Last time we went to Turf Moor we got spanked 5-0. So certainly we’ll be seeking an improvement on our last visit – it’s rather difficult to predict, the Clarets should provide a stern test having not gone spend-crazy in the top flight and have therefore not had a mass exodus, and indeed, former Reds favourite Brian Laws has added Chris Iwelumo, R0ss Wallace, Dean Marney and Lee Grant to his ranks – all of whom might debut.
Their only injury isue is Chris McCann whose repeated knee problems are again keeping him out of the Burnley side – so they’re in pretty good shape on the whole, which may – or may not – contrast with the Reds who claim to be suffering from a few injury issues. As we’ve seen before though, what we say to the press about injuries and what is actually true are often two very different things!
One thing that’s almost certain and is very exciting is that Ryan Bertrand is likely to go straight into the first eleven at left back, Gunter at right back – then we start to play the guessing-game, with Wes and Kelvin both recently sporting injuries either or both could miss out – with Chambers likely to deputise and then, well, um. Who else if they both miss out? I sort of naturally assume Lynch is injured. We might end up light at centreback!
McKenna, Anderson, Tyson and Blackstock have also been carrying niggles so may end up missing out – so given our squad size Billy might not have too much wriggle room with his selection of players. Certainly an addition to the squad today would be welcome – however I guess unless he knows any different he’ll need to plan as though they won’t be. Rumours persist around Peter Whittingham and even Darren Pratley still, but well, nothing’s been confirmed.
Billy spoke today about the transfer window and that it should close before the season starts – I can see his point, particularly within the setup that Forest operate (ie, Billy effectively operating merely as an advisor on transfers rather than a decision maker). If the Reds continue to push right ’til the end of windows presumably to ease their negotiations it does rather compromise the manager’s preparations which is bound to make him a little uppity!
In other news we’ve agreed to loan Julian Bennett to Crystal Palace which is a great move for all concerned – with 20 odd months of not playing he will be desperately short of match fitness, and whilst I love Jules, I wouldn’t really want him to be gaining that fitness with us and potentially weakening us. He gets the opportunity hopefully to play, and also at Championship level to give him the opportunity to demonstrate he can operate at this level. Good move all round, hopefully he does well!
Whilst I’m by no means a doom-and-gloom type of person, I’m still anticipating a slow-to-steady start from the Reds this season – we’ve had a somewhat faltering preseason thanks to injuries and the potential of adding players late might also mean there’s more ‘bedding in’ time. Burnley will certainly prove a stern first test, so – whilst it might sound unambitious – I’d be pretty pleased to come away with a point, and delighted with more.
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