West Ham United vs. Forest preview..

Mixed feelings on this – suggestions I’ve seen that Avram Grant will chuck his reserves out for this game lure me into the temptation of going full strength and causing an ‘upset’. (It’s being called a potential upset, and I suppose it is – but in the continuous football league structure we’re only a few places below West Ham, and certainly on better form!), but I also see this game as an unnecessary distraction from the league.

Forest go in to this game on a fantastic run of form, albeit often gained from workmanlike performances.  Personally I tend to side with the school of thought that a cup run is an unnecessary distraction and potential drain on our not-exactly-massive squad, but Billy has been heard to speak in a Clough-like manner (Brian that is, not the hapless one down the A5-2) about winning being a good habit to get in to.

For the purists, that’s a pretty irrefutable attitude – you should want to win every game, every piece of silverware you are entered in to.  Of course, also in the words of Brian Clough, you can’t win ’em all – but you should most certainly try your best.  So I think whilst Billy will tinker and use the opportunity give some game time to some of our fringe players.

I expect Paul McKenna to feature, possibly McGoldrick – an opportunity for Lynch to continue his excellent contributions of late.  I’d like to see Morgan and Cohen get a rest – as they’ve looked a little leggy of late.  Tudgay is cuptied, so maybe Adebola will have the opportunity to get a rare start too.  As for the West Ham team, I expect a weakened line up with a strong bench just in case.

Forest will of course also have a twelfth man in the form of 6,000 fans roaring them on from the away end, I wouldn’t care to speculate idly about how many home fans will turn up, but I find it hard to imagine the visit of us will sell out the home stands!  It might help to make a difference though, and hopefully those of you who make the trip have a fun afternoon (I’ve elected to miss this one).

As for the result – who knows?  West Ham can attack but do look vulnerable at the back.  Forest have played a series of fairly dogged and defensive opponents of late, so how we respond to perhaps more open play and opportunities to pass it around more will be the key to how we do.  Certainly utilising Raddy in a starting eleven could exploit this.

On our day we could do this – but well, on another day we could comfortably lose as well.  Of course, it’s sods law that we’ll end up snagging a draw and a replay because that’s the very outcome that neither ourselves or West Ham will want given our league campaigns at the opposite ends of our respective league tables.  So yeah, I’m going for a draw, because I’m a pessimist!