So Sunday’s pain-in-the-arse kick off time enables Championship TV coverage to continue its love affair with West Ham United. Despite the inconvenience factor I’m quite looking forward to it – I quite like the Hammers for a couple of reasons, firstly my first away game was against them, at Villa Park in 1991. We won 4-0 but my abiding memory is the West Ham fans never stopped singing despite getting a shoeing after Tony Gale’s harsh sending off.
The second reason is that West Ham were our first league visitors after Brian Clough passed away – an emotional occasion for us, and the fans who travelled up from London that day were absolutely immaculate in their observation of the minute silence and joining in our plethora of Clough related chants. I’m not sure what that has to do with previewing the match, but there you go!
Forest will hopefully be heartened by a fortunate-but-spirited fightback after an awful start against Leicester, followed by a fluid and impressive attacking display against Wycombe. Unfortuantely, Sam Allardyce teams aren’t famous for the open and free-flowing style that Wycombe opted for that allowed us the opportunities to keep attacking them repeatedly.
Our visitors are generally regarded as hot favourites to go back up, retaining plenty of top notch players for this level as well as adding the likes of Kevin Nolan to their ranks. Having said that, it’s been a sluggish start for them – particularly at Upton Park. Unfortunately for us they’ve fared better away from home, winning at Doncaster and Watford already.
Whilst only Dex is still not training – Ando, Reidy and McCleary are still out with injuries – the slight knock Derbyshire picked up to keep him out of the squad for Wycombe has cleared up so he may well feature too. Guy Moussi has stepped up his return to action with a run out in the reserves against Burton Albion.
Big Sam opted to make big changes against Aldershot in the cup midweek, which led to them being knocked out. It’s likely a return to a full strength line-up is on the cards which will certainly pose a big challenge for the Reds. The only player missing for them is McNaughton who is suspended following a red card in the Carling Cup.
They’ve just signed Sam Baldock from the MK Dons, who looks uncannily like Ed Milliband – he was apparently highly sought after, although I must admit I’ve not heard about him before – and Leicester haven’t bid for him yet – so he can’t have been that much in demand!
The future of Scott Parker remains unclear but is subject to strong interest from Tottenham Hotspur – who are apparently in talks with the Hammers over securing his services. Hopefully those talks are fruitful – I’d be happy to not see him in the starting line-up! Not that he is the only player they have to be worried about, of course.
A spectacularly difficult one to call. If we play like we did against Leicester from the off, then we’ll get annihilated. Hopefully we can take something from the subsequent cup game to show some attacking impetus but retain some defensive steel to cope with what I would expect to be a more challenging attacking display by West Ham.
I’m afraid I fear another bad result, folks. Then again, I am a bit of a pessimist these days.
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