Forest vs. Middlesbrough preview..

At the start of the season bookmakers would have had you believe Tuesday’s City Ground showdown was a top of the table clash between two title favourites.  Just goes to show they’re not always on top of their game doesn’t it?  Or maybe they know more than we thought and wanted us to waste our cash on the the Reds either of Nottingham or Teesside.

We can’t even go for the silver lining of an unbeaten run now, that went at the weekend thanks to Barnsley, whereas our visitors Middlesbrough have had an even less impressive start.  They tasted defeat 6 times in the league already – including at the weekend against Leeds at home.  Indeed, they haven’t won for five games at all, and have only managed 3 points on three occasions (although let’s not be too harsh, we’ve only done it twice!).

All their wins have come at the Riverside Stadium – in fact, the best they’ve managed on their travels is a solitary point at similarly-struggling Leicester City back in August – so they really don’t travel well.  On the back of that, the distance and the timing of a Tuesday night I wouldn’t expect many Boro fans to be making the trip to the City Ground either.

On the injury front we’ll be hoping that Billy Davies is ready for action again following a viral infection.  Kelly suggested after the Barnsley defeat that it was likely.  The other two notable potential injuries that could change things are the thigh injury to Robert Earnshaw and the knee ‘knock’ to Nathan Tyson.

Certainly given our wastefulness upfront both players would be welcome options to introduce at this stage.  Gordon Strachan must be feeling the pressure by now, he’s had time and resource to assemble his choice of players at Boro and it isn’t translating into results on the pitch, and is now coming under pressure from his own supporters.

You would think that it’s a good time to be playing them – midweek with a small away following, manager under pressure, players lacking confidence and cohesion.  But this is Forest isn’t it?  We’re not exactly tearing up any trees at the moment either, and that makes me a bit nervous that many might think this is a home banker.

Indeed, reading around the Boro forums is very much like some of ours at the moment – lots of finger pointing and factions and divisions amongst the fans, which is never a healthy place to be.  Look at the post-match comments on this site, comments are down in general (whilst hits aren’t), those that are posted are generally fairly negative.  It’s understandable, as a positive person it’s sad, though.

So just as we might be seeing this as yet another opportunity to give our season a much needed kick-start (and it’s not the first time that we’ve said that, is it?), I can imagine that Gordon Strachan might well see this is as a similar opportunity for his own ailing fortunes – he’ll know that by spoiling and hitting on the break he might well get our fans grumbling…

I’m almost reaching that point where I’m not looking forward to games like I ought to be, which is never a nice thing to have to report – but there you have it.  Currently I’m contemplating another weekend seemingly prematurely coming to an end and going back to the weekday drudgery with a ‘bonus’ Forest match thrown in to the mix.

I don’t like being a grump 😦