Hmm, it is of course tempting to fill this page with doom and gloom as I did for the Leeds preview. It wouldn’t be unreasonable, Brighton are a decent side – and they’ve only lost one game in 2012 so far and find themselves firmly ensconced in contention for the play-offs. Irrespective of the justifiable boost that Tuesday’s game at Elland Road will give us, it’s probably reasonable to assume that the Seagulls will provide a sterner test.
Marcus Tudgay returns to contention following his suspension – and with no fresh injury concerns from the midweek game it will give Steve Cotterill something to ponder, hopefully not for too long, I was really pleased to see Majewski back in the fold (although whether he has two games in him following his exclusion from the squad remains to be seen). The other consideration is the fitness of Higginbotham and Elokobi who are both recovering from hamstring injuries.
Brighton arriving at the City Ground make it our third game in a row against a club that Brian Clough managed – who can remember that happening before? They will be missing defender Reyes who is suspended after being sent off against Blackpool, but El-Abd, Vokes and Assulin are available to make the trip to Trent Side after recovering from a combination of injuries and illness. Elphick remains sidelined with an Achilles problem.
Those of you that made the trip down to the Amex Stadium back in December will remember a game in which we dominated from start to finish, but alas not through into added time when Will Buckley popped up in the 92nd minute to score the only goal of the game and left Forest ruing opportunities spurned by Tudgay, McCleary, Anderson and Majewski – none managing to provide a stern test for Ankergren in the Brighton goal from good opportunities.
Whilst undoubtedly a daunting prospect Brighton’s form on the road hasn’t been that auspicious lately – they’ve only won one on the road since February, and that was Leeds – so that hardly counts! – but of course we must balance what is probably best classed as indifferent form on the road with our particularly atrocious home form – although more recent games at the City Ground have shown signs of promise.
Being the consummate pessimist if there was ever a game that was bound to be a bit of a damp squib it’s this one – after the lord mayor’s show, whatever cliche you want to use, I can’t help but think of a cracking win at Birmingham, a decent draw at Barnsley and then… BOOM… Doncaster at home. Having said all that, having been such a grump about the Leeds game and expecting a shoeing, suddenly a draw at home to the Seagulls wouldn’t seem so bad.
With Leicester City looming on the horizon it’s feasible that Steve Cotterill might be lured into making changes to keep his squad fresh – clearly the weekend off provided a degree of benefit midweek (as of course did the clown defending from Leeds), but with games coming up more frequently there’s bound to be a bit of shuffling. Hopefully the home fans can capture the kind of spirit we see away from the City Ground and the Reds can surprise us again.
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