Forest vs. Leicester City preview..

Ah, the magic of the FA Cup third round.  Is strangely absent when it comes to us, whilst Leeds notably seem to get a plum draw each year, we generally don’t.  Marry the inauspiciousness of the fixture itself, replicated earlier in the season in the league, with obviously the largely appalling recent form we’ve shown and it’s not really all that surprising that Forest have just finally grudgingly opened one of the upper tiers to home fans.

Of course, it’s a little different down the A46 – 8,000 odd Foxes fans are expected in our fair city, not including those rumoured to have acquired tickets in the home ends.  Having eventually seen a Leiceister victory at the City Ground in the Carling Cup back in 2007 (remember, when we were winning with about 2 minutes to go yet still conspired to lose? Paul Smith scored for us!), missing out on a league win earlier in the season, so I guess an FA Cup win is another step toward that aim.

I need not mention our form really – we of course went 7 games without scoring, nestled either side of that were wins against Ipswich.  Our visitors haven’t exactly been pulling up trees either, so to speak.  They were five games without a win until snagging a 2-1 victory at Selhurst Park over Crystal Palace on Monday.  It would seem that Nigel Pearson has – much like Steve Cotterill – struggled to tangibly improve results after the departure of a costly ex-England manager.

On the team-news front it’s been confirmed that we have international clearance to field Marlon Harewood for his first appearance in a Forest shirt for over eight years.  He’s signed up ’til the end of the season after his contract in China came to an end.  Joel Lynch is available following his suspension, whilst Paul Anderson and Dexter Blackstock have come through their latest injuries.  Findley is a doubt with his gammy shoulder, leaving Choen, Miller, Morgan and Moloney on the longer-term crocked list.

Leicester will be missing targetman Steve Howard who was sent off against Crystal Palace earlier this week, and Gelson Fernedes whose season-long loan from Saint Etienne was prematurely terminated.  They will also be without Sol Bamba and John Pantsil who check in with their respective international sides for the Africa Cup of Nations tournament.  Liam Moore is cup-tied having played in an earlier round for Bradford City whilst on loan.  Former Red loanee Paul Konchesky has returned to training following an injury so may be fit to play.

If I were Steve Cotterill I’d have the dilemma of perhaps trying to build on the Ipswich momentum and fielding a strong team (such as we have, admittedly, given the injuries!), or – and probably more likely – not risking too much and giving some youngsters and opportunity to play.  A cup run is all well and good, but it’s a distraction and a potential source of yet more injuries, of course it’s also a source of revenue – which is all the more important in the post-sugar-daddy age at Forest.

So I’m quite glad it’s the gaffer with the difficult choices and not me.  Leicester haven’t exactly impressed this season considering the expensively-assembled squad – but of course, we haven’t impressed to the power of ten, so this is one of those games that could go either way.  With an attendance perhaps illustrative of the disenchantment many fans are feeling, coupled with a large away following, it will be a strange City Ground the players run out to.

Obviously it’s difficult to wish for anything other than a Forest win, and the promise of a more interesting draw in the fourth round, but I can’t help but feel that we could do without the distraction of a cup run and focus on what is a dire league position we are facing.  The devil in me hopes Steve Cotterill rests as many key players as injury allows and tests out some youngsters (and Marlon) – and if they triumph, do the same again in the fourth round.

It could be a useful proving ground to see who in the reserves and youth set up might be ready to step up to the plate and help our league campaign.  Given the unpredictability of Cotterill’s approach to selection for this game, along with the fact that both Forest and Leicester are quite difficult teams to predict anyway, I’m going to abstain from anything other than making the rather blithe observation that ‘it could go either way’.

9 Responses

  1. I feel it’ll be a draw and we’ll be going back down the A46 to sort this tie out. Weird how the city of Fester is emptying for this one. Must really annoy them that we don’t see much of a rivalry.

  2. Annoying maybe for the fox-shite; but still a little embarassing for a true Red to see the City Ground turned blue…

  3. Nice touch with the Sugar Daddy line.
    Nffc I hope SC is thinking along the same
    lines for this cup tie.
    The bigger picture of survival & a healthy
    squad far outweighs a cup run that would
    be quickly forgotten if Forest don’t drag
    themselves out of their current mess.
    8,000 tickets allocated to Leicester?
    They certainly are dark days at Forest…

  4. I suspect that young Kieron Freeman will start at right back so that Gunter isn’t cup tied for his new club in the next round.

  5. I got excited nffc i thought we had signed a promising player from Asia in Choen.Then i sussed it bummer eh dream on Ric !

    I think SC will go for it and I also think we will beat the bin raiders unleash ” Marlon ” big beast that he is .

    U reds

  6. […] the original post on Through the seasons before […]

  7. I’m hoping for a win and hopefully a plum draw in the next round. Quite simply we need the money !!!
    Still awaiting bids for Mcgugan who I expect to go
    Should be a good game with Marlon back,and certainly a great atmosphere !!

  8. […] We won’t be going to this one I’m afraid (oh why oh why aren’t cup matches included on the season ticket anymore?), so I will leave the preview to NFFCblog. […]

  9. …just fancy it being another 3 goals for the forest ….only hope our defence tightens up and dont go 3 player ball chasing ! we need a central defender general to organise discipline….it will open up from the off …feel forest to get 2 early goals and 1 in the second half …..or am i dreaming ???? MARTHUR AND ALL THE DRIBBLE OUT ! does anyone know how much the club is up for sale ????? like ive said nffc we need 8k supporters ..we can buy out !!!

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