Back to the City Ground having seen out a most excellent October, Forest will almost certainly be looking to bank three points from visitors Millwall at the weekend. Of course, the Lions might well have something to say about that, who travel north on the back of handing out a 4-0 drubbing to Simon Grayson’s Huddersfield side.
On the team front we’ve a mixed bag of positives and negatives – the great news is that Jermaine Jenas has extended his loan with us from Tottenham for a couple more months, and Adlene Guedioura returns from his suspension. Less positive is the continued unavailability of Sam Hutchinson, Henri Lansbury and Marcus Tudgay – and of course now Greg Halford too who serves a game suspension having picked up his fifth booking of the season at Barnsley.
This of course opens the door for Elliott Ward to make his starting debut for us in defence. As for Millwall, they are without Alan Dunne through suspension and Paul Robinson through injury. One perhaps to watch for them is winger James Henry who you might well have forgotten had about 3 minutes as a Forest player in 2006-07!
So, whilst we’re on a good run of form so are Millwall – whilst we’re starting to sniff around the periphery of the playoffs the Lions could launch themselves into the top ten with a positive result at the City Ground. Both of us are unbeaten in five, with Forest having the edge by winning three of ’em with our visitors winning two of theirs.
On paper we should be looking to get the win in a game like this at home, but despite our recent upturn in form and some positive performances I can’t quite let myself be too optimistic just yet. Perhaps it’s all those years of assorted incompetence affecting my ability to trust – but Sean O’Driscoll alluded to it after the Barnsley game – we’re not quite there yet – and our defensive lapses worry me.
That said, going forward we’ve been looking dangerous and we are starting to convert our opportunities into goals – be it through good fortune (Halford’s shank) or excellent passing and finishing (Cox’s lovely through-ball to Jenas and his subsequent lob). This is promising, because we’ve evolved from not-creating through creating-and-missing to creating-and-scoring – this is a much needed step.
Just as we’ve been improving in that direction I do think we need further focus on keeping the ball out of our net. It will come though, we are – as has oft been said – somewhat of a work-in-progress, and if that progress is moving in the right direction then I for one am happy to do my best to enjoy the ride from the stands.
If Millwall come to play it could be a very interesting open game with goals in it, but if they come to close up shop then we could be in for a frustrating afternoon – and lots of parents with bored children (with it being a kids for a quid match).
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