In what’s been a not particularly auspicious season of home games, it’s not exactly sad to think that this is the penultimate game at the City Ground of the campaign. A win here, and barring some extraordinary results in the last three games of the season, it would be a case of safety assured, forget this season ever happened and move on. Or something. Sounds a bit fairytaleish at this juncture, and we don’t tend to trade in those too often.
An impressive and dominating performance against Peterborough will hopefully give the lads confidence and avoid that straight quality-sapping soporific effect our own turf seems to have on the players. Certainly after the disappointment of our last home match against Bristol City I would hope manager and squad alike are keen to put that behind them and deliver a decent result for the City Ground crowd.
Of course, there’s the small matter of our opponents to consider. Blackpool have still get heir eye on a play-off finish – they’re currently sitting in fifth place with the likes of Brighton and Boro sitting four points behind them in seventh and eighth. The Seasiders are on decent form too – they’re unbeaten in three games and at this juncture will probably welcome nothing more than a trip to the easiest away game in the league to pick up points.
Forest will be without Garath McCleary – his red card against Peterborough was unsurprisingly upheld by the Football Association appeals process, presumably because we’re not a massive Premier League team (and, in truth, it was a reckless challenge). When the opponent manager sticks up for your dismissed player though you’d think they’d show a little leniency. But no, Gaz will be missing sadly.
We have doubts surrounding Guy Moussi too – he withdrew from the game at London Road shortly before kickoff with issues around his calf. This of course led to a surprise inclusion for Lewis McGugan – who hadn’t even made the bench – and the midfielder put in an impressive performance, which might have earned him a return to the fold. Whether Anderson is fit, or whether Gunter might be pushed into a midfield role, remains to be seen.
Our visitors should have Taylor-Fletcher available after he missed Monday’s game against Barnsley, however Ian Holloway will be without the suspended Keith Southern, and the injured Roman Bednar. His other injury concern is Kevin Phillips, who’s been troubled with a hip problem (presumably at his age he’s due a replacement! Fnar!).
This game represents one of those rare opportunities for us this season – to do a double over someone! Blackpool succumbed to a 2-1 defeat at Bloomfield Road thanks to strikes from Majewski and Morgan, and their open attacking style might present us with our own opportunities rather than face an overtly defensive side that seems to have been customary. We shall see. Have we done the double over anyone other than Ipswich this season?
With Doncaster playing Portsmouth the day will end with one of them relegated; Coventry and Bristol City face tricky trips to Burnley and Birmingham respectively – whilst of course we must focus on our own challenge, I can’t help but think in that context it would be a most timely juncture in which to pick up a point or three. Then we can look forward to the West-Country-fest post-match interviews between the two managers!
It’ll be a tricky game – difficult to predict too, it should be open – there should be chances, which worryingly points to the side with the most effective finishing and perhaps the most on-form ‘keeper triumphing. We’ve not excelled at either of these things lately! Ho hum!
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