So here we go, as the season draws to a close the Reds are unfeasibly still in contention for a play-off position. Currently we sit in sixth place, our fate is our own – and we must contemplate the visit of almost-certainly-relegated-but-with-a-ridiculously-small-chance-of-survival Scunthorpe United. You’ll remember them, they were the team we lost one of our ‘easy’ games in hand against!
A win against the Iron would give us three welcome wins on the bounce, and depending on how results go elsewhere it could actually see us secure a place in the top six. Leeds vs Burnley is the early kick-off, where a draw would probably be best, a Leeds win at a push, whilst Millwall host Swansea – I think on balance a Swansea win would be best.
As noted before, with two games left to play Scunthorpe are six points adrift of safety, and with a ludicrously poor goal difference compared to Donny who are currently sitting fourth from bottom. Whilst there’s no condemning ‘R’ next to them on the league table, in reality, they are already down – technically they have nothing to play for, much like our next opponents Palace won’t have next weekend.
Forest decided to enhance ticket sales for this last game by slashing prices, and it seems to have done the trick if tales of ticket sales are true. So hopefully a big crowd will get behind the lads and cheer them on to victory. It seems unlikely that too many fans from Scunny will make the trip, which is understandable given their circumstances.
Tys remains a doubt with his thigh strain, whilst we remain without longer term injuries for the likes of Anderson, Blackstock, Lynch and Wilson. This is the last game in which Paul Konchesky is eligible to play for the Reds – so hopefully Lynchy can get himself sorted in time for next week (I don’t want to mention the p-word again just yet!).
Scunny will be without a familiar face to us – Joe Garner’s done well for them during his loan spell. He’s notched six goals for the strugglers at Glanford Park. They also have doubts surrounding Josh Wright, Andy Hughes and Matt Godden. Reading their website, their manager seems pretty defeatist, which could of course lead to a team playing without fear or pressure.
We’ve picked up three wins and two defeats in our last five games – whilst Scunny have two wins, a draw and two defeats. That said, one of those wins was a rather eye-catching 4-1 victory over champions-elect QPR (having just been tonked 6-0 by Norwich too!). Scunny of course have had the better of us already this season, triumphing 1-0 at Glanford Park in February despite the Reds creating and spurning a myriad of chances!
Let’s face it, on paper this should be a win. But it’s never that simple, is it? A bumper crowd, pressure, plenty at stake versus a side that have already come to terms with their fate, with a nominal crowd, with no pressure at all. It would certainly be foolhardy to write them off, particularly as injuries or niggles might give fringe players an opportunity to impress.
Having said that, we should have enough about us to overcome this – and I would hope that Billy will be stamping out any kind of complacency. In an ideal world, we don’t want to have to have a trip to Selhurst Park on the final day – whether they have anything to play for or not – desperately needing to rack up points and/or goals. Let’s go for the win, boys. And really go for it.
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