I must admit I’ve been a little less engaged with our summer activities this season compared to usual for a number of reasons, so the season starting tomorrow has snuck up on me rather. It’s good to think we’ll be back to regular jaunts to the City Ground and around the country after that long summer break and all the incessant clamour and nonsense that goes with it in terms of people spreading outlandish rumours and whatnot.
Steve McClaren’s first competitive game comes at a time where he’s both disappointed and happy with how transfers have gone – depending on which papers you read. It’s fair to say though I don’t think we’ve done quite as much business as we’d have liked once again in the summer – although people doing the simple arithmetic assessment of “nine out, there in” are missing the point a little I feel.
Certainly I’m expecting to see debuts for Greening, Boateng and a second debut for Reid – and we might even see a full debut for Robbie Findley who’s only appeared as a substitute so far. It seems that Chris Cohen will fill the troublesome left-back spot (I bet Mark Arthur is regretting that preseason interview relating to left-backs now!), with Chambers sporting the captain’s armband – a surprise for me, I was expecting Greening to get it.
Chambo is a good candidate though – he’s vocal, passionate and does have leadership qualities. I do think he has room for improvement but he has time to do that too, and I offer him hearty congratulations on being handed the armband. Wes will be alongside him, Gunter at rightback, Anderson seems to have impressed preseason – maybe he’ll feature, or maybe McGugan – leaving the likes of McGoldrick, Garner and Tudgay to fight out the place up front. I’m sure my guessing will be completely wrong – maybe Lewis switching to number 10 is a signal that he might be being considered as a more overt striker?
The Tykes have a few new signings too – Perkins, Davies, Addison, Done, Wiseman, McNulty and Edwards replenish Barnsley who finished a disappointing seventeenth last season. That said, aside from the half season loan of injury-prone Miles Addison from Derby I must admit none are particularly well-known to me. Not that my knowledge of players is any kind of precursor for how effective they may be, admittedly.
It’s a new era for Barnsley under manager Keith Hill, who replaced Mark Robins after he’d resigned over ‘differences with the board’ at the end of last season. It was initially confusing for me, as I’d mixed up his name in my head with a local hairdressing chain called Keith Hall! Anyway, I digress.
The dawning of Steve McClaren’s era as Forest boss hasn’t been exactly smooth with the apparent difficulties in securing the players he wanted. That said, I’m pretty pleased with the ones he has secured – I’m sure he’ll see it as important as we do to get off to a good start against – on paper – an opponent we ought to be beating at the City Ground. Of course, I’m sure Barnsley will have ideas of their own about how to go about getting off to a good start of their own!
One thing’s for sure, I’ll be mighty glad to take my seat at the City Ground again at the weekend and start to refocus on football and Forest-related discussions being based on what happens on the pitch and not off it! I really can’t wait!
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