Praise the Lord! Forest sign Greening!

It’s been talked about for some time, but the blessed relief (okay, I might stop with the tenuous Jesus references before I get started…) of Forest actually completing the signing of Jonathan Greening from Fulham arrived today.  After the departure of Paul McKenna he very much looks like the ‘experienced head’ in midfield – and, of course, a potential captain.

He joins Andy Reid as Steve McClaren’s second signing.  Starting out at York, he ended up at Manchester United where of course the gaffer was Ferguson’s assistant, before following Schteve to Middlesbrough in 2001, before leaving for West Brom where he ended up skipper and a popular figure – latterly being loaned and then sold to Fulham.

A big welcome to Jonathan – he’s got himself a three year contract and has signed for an undisclosed fee thought to be around £600k.  I’m quite pleased with the move – and not just because it’s a signing, any signing – I do think he’ll add the kind of experience and guile we need in midfield, but perhaps with a little more quality than former skipper Paul McKenna offered.

Rumours are also abounding that we have or are about to agree a three year contract with Guy Moussi, presumably after his agent failed to pimp him around all and sundry and had to resort to us (forgive my cynicism, the Moose will be a welcome sight in a Forest shirt again next season, but the delay naturally rankles a little bit!).

So with the midfield bolstered by potentially three now (admittedly with one rumoured re-signing) all eyes revert to that troublesome left-back position, and, well, the six or so more signings that Steve McClaren claimed he needed not so long ago.  It will be interesting to see how many of them he gets…!  As Kenny Burns says, Greening is a start, but it’s only a start…

Reidy returns, Skipper and Dele depart..

It’s always exciting when we make a signing, and the return of Andy Reid to Forest is a great coup I think.  Those people making jibes about his fluctuating weight overlook his undoubted talent on the ball, delivery and passing ability – not to mention the fact that he appears to be in good shape too.

Whether McClaren sees him as the left winger that most Forest fans will remember him as or a more central playmaker remains to be seen – certainly we have had a long-standing vacancy on the left wing, most recently filled by the departed Nathan Tyson who – whilst full of endeavour – lacked a certain amount of guile in that role, just as he lacked the ability to finish when in his preferred position up front.

So a huge welcome aboard to Reidy – a free transfer and a two year deal signed.  Obviously if that’s the full extent of our incoming activity then it will be disappointing, but it’s a good start.  Rumours persist that Giles Barnes has also agreed a deal in principle but is undergoing an extended fitness test – he’s certainly a player that could be a snip if he fulfils his potential.  Big if, of course.

McKenna celebrates his goal of the season contender (sic) against Leicester City last season..

As well as an incoming we’ve had confirmation of the worst-kept two outgoings – last season’s skipper Paul McKenna and Dele Adebola both head to Hull on free transfers.  McKenna has been a good pro for us, and – as is usually the case with defensive midfielders and Forest fans – not always as valued as he deserves to be, having said that, he was starting to show signs of wear and tear, and a move was probably right.

Dele too should go with good wishes – personally I never quite got the affection and belief some fans seemed to have in him, but I don’t doubt he was a decent pro who was good to have around our younger players – even if his contribution on the pitch was, in my opinion, less than overwhelming.  That said, he played his part in some late cameos and caused a degree of havoc in opponent defences.

Best of luck to both of them in their future careers – I’m sure each of them can look forward to a decent reception from Forest fans when we next encounter them.

The lack of news around Earnshaw and Moussi would suggest to me that neither are likely to be with us next season – which is a pity in both cases, particularly Moussi.  Que sera sera though – we really should have looked to get these players on a longer term contract if we had intended to keep them.  It does rather mean that McClaren needs to be thinking about holding midfielders, though.

As for whether Smoulderwood deigns to return or not – that too remains in the balance.  I do hope so though, not just because I want to childishly pick up with the silly nickname again, but clearly he’s the choice that the club want to bring in.  I’m (possibly over-optimistically) looking forward to further news over the next week or so…

Reds Boyd by Kris signing..

There’s been lots of talk of signings needed, and the gossip from yesterday seems to have had legs as Kris Boyd has joined the Reds on loan from Middlesbrough.  He’s immediately available for Billy to use in tonight’s game against Sheffield United which is great, although the striker hasn’t had much game time for Boro of late.

Of course, signing a Boyd on loan seems to be becoming a bit of a habit at this stage of the season for Forest – with Peterborough’s George Boyd hardly making waves when he arrived last season.  In return for the loan, the Reds have allowed out-of-favour ‘keeper Paul Smith to move to the Riverside Stadium in a loan move too.  A good move for him, as clearly his future at Forest is sketchy at best.

All the best to him and Boro’s bid to try to get Derby closer to the relegation mire!  Indeed, Derby are Middlesbrough’s opponents this very evening.

Kris Boyd was part of a raft of players to arrive at Middlesbrough from Scotland in the summer, but he’s struggled to make much of an impact at the North East club.  He’s been limited to appearances from the bench since Tony Mowbray took the reigns at the Riverside Stadium – so hopefully he’ll relish the opportunity of a fresh start and a different kind of battle at the other end of the table.

Whilst he didn’t exactly have the impact he’d have liked in Middlesbrough, you don’t become Rangers’ all-time leading goal-scorer without knowing where the onion bag is, and given our difficulties in scoring goals lately it could hopefully prove to be a shrewd move by Wee Billy.  Whether or not he can walk the walk remains to be seen, but from reading the official site, he’s certainly talking the talk.

“The loan transfer has come out of the blue for me. I didn’t know anything about it until Monday but once I knew that a club of Forest’s stature and history wanted me, I didn’t need asking twice.

I want to be part of a successful team and one that is heading in the right direction and Forest certainly fit the bill where that is concerned.

There are a lot of games coming up in a short time and I just want to concentrate on what’s right for Forest and do everything I can to help them get into the Premier League.

I’ve spoken to a few people about the manager at Forest and all I have heard back from them is good. He’s got a fantastic record in the Championship and has the right mindset to get the club promoted.”

Welcome to Forest, Kris.  Certainly this makes tonight’s game at Sheffield United all the more interesting.  Fingers crossed he really can hit the ground running and weigh in with some goals against the Yorkshire strugglers.  All the best to Smithy too, I wasn’t one of those fans that seemed to delight in turning on him, but I do think it’s best for all concerned that he looks to rebuild his career elsewhere.

We got the Konch!

Anybody with a rudimentary knowledge of William Golding’s excellent novel ‘The Lord of the Flies’ will know that – initially at least – the person that holds the conch has the right to speech.  It feels like a good analogy, as now Forest have loaned Konchesky for 93 days we have addressed the imbalance in our side since Ryan Bertrand’s loan from Chelsea ended.

That’s not to belittle the efforts of Joel Lynch, who has been covering the left back spot since then – however, we are now roundly sure that his future lies as a centreback rather than a fullback.  It’s been a great relief to see Forest unusually acting on the deadline day to bring in a player of confirmed quality to cover that most troublesome of spots.

The rumours started breaking last night, and even when Terry the Kitman offered hints on Twitter I as always remained dubious.  It sort of makes sense – Konchesky has had a miserable time since joining Liverpool and once a loan back to Fulham fell through his only option for escape was an emergency loan to a Football League team due to the two-clubs-in-a-season rule.

Konchesky signed for Liverpool from Fulham, following his former manager Roy Hodgson, after the start of the season.  He played for the Cottagers against Manchester United back in August which – in hindsight – has been the factor to severely limit his options in trying to escape from Merseyside.  Made all the more pressing as his Mum posted a few ill-thought comments about Liverpool fans on her Facebook page!

Since Kenny Dalglish took the reins at Anfield the 29 year old hasn’t featured for them – having been generally regarded as a bit of a scapegoat as Liverpool adjust to an era of not automatically falling in to the top four of the Premier League.  His past performances for Fulham in the top flight however show him to certainly be capable of operating in the top flight – and have netted him a couple of England caps.

Given his need to gain a fresh start elsewhere, and our – as ever – dire need of securing the services of a specialist left back it’s a match made in heaven for me.  Whilst I’d held on to the hope that we might just lure Ryan Bertrand back from Chelsea, this is the kind of signing I really wanted to see us make.  He should be eligible to play as soon as Tuesday when we visit Coventry City.

Welcome aboard Paul!  It’s good to have you.  Paul Konchesky is a red, is a red, is a red, Paul Konchesky is a red, his Mum hates Scousers!

January starts well, but can it last?

I’m a bit late in the day thanks to the rude awakening of coming back to work, but I’m really chuffed that Forest did the not-entirely-unexpected and made Marcus Tudgay’s signing from Sheffield Wednesday permanent yesterday.  He’s now on board with a two-and-a-half year contract after impressing in his loan spell, in which he notched three goals in three starts, and one sub appearance.

He’s always been one of those players that seems to have niggled us when he’s been an opponent, and perhaps his unsettledness at Wednesday after other moves were blocked for him meant that people had a poorer impression of his abilities than they should have.  He’s not the biggest or the fastest, but he’s decent in the air (as the Derby game showed, albeit against appalling defenders), and he’s got a great first touch, and an eye for goal.

It all adds to the former-Rams in our ranks too – he started out with Derby, making 99 appearances for them and notching 18 goals before earning a move to Wednesday amidst all manner of outlandish off-field rumours.  At Wednesday he made a little over 200 appearances and notched 50 goals – so increased his scoring ratio from 1 in 5 games to 1 in 4.  Hopefully he can do the same again here, he’s certainly started well enough!

Elsewhere on the personnel merry-go-round we welcome back Joe Garner and Julian Bennett from their loans with Huddersfield and Palace respectively.  It’s already been decreed that no follow-up interest in Joe will be shown by Huddersfield after his loan ended with no goals.  Benno I understand made a better impression at Palace, although given the injury and soon-t0-be-expired loan of Ryan Bertrand the Reds might choose to assess whether it’s worth keeping hold of him.  We still await news of Robbie Findley’s work permit.

After that – well, the usual rumours in a January window are surfacing.  The general mood of the message boards seems to be confidence that Forest will splash the cash in this window, which always makes me – the cynic – feel a bit pensive!  Certainly this season represents a real opportunity to make a claim for the automatic spots, as none of the teams at the top look unassailable at the moment.. unfortunately that also includes us as times!

I really want to have faith that this January will be different – indeed, it has started remarkably well with the capture of Tudgay, but I’m not going to let myself get too excited!

A signing and, brace yourself – a LEFT BACK!!

Ryan Bertrand: A lesser-crested left back!

I wondered whether I’d posted too early on the subject of Ryan Bertrand – but it turns out it was right, because he’s signed a six month loan agreement today, which is also his 21st birthday.  Despite his tender years, he’s had plenty of experience at this level and in League One with long term loan spells at Norwich and Reading in the past.  And he makes a most welcome addition to the mighty Reds squad.

He’s recently graduated from the England U19 side to be included in the U21s under Stuart Pearce, and Reds fans will be pleased to know his single solitary professional goal came against Derby when he was at Reading.  Indeed, more pleasing is that it was the game where Savage had ended up in goal for the Rams!

He was converted from playing on the wing when younger, so whilst obviously his principle job is defending he’s known for his ability to get forward and support the attackers – which, given our typically narrow midfield formations, will be something that we would need ideally in any fullback – something Gunter does very well.  I’m really rather excited by this news, hopefully the six months is precautionary to give Chelsea an option to look at their 25 man squad in the window and hopefully extend the deal.

Welcome aboard, Ryan!  In being handed the number 3 shirt, I’m hoping you can do it justice!

We’re only gonna go and sign a left back!

If, and it’s a big if, the Evening Post website is to be believed.  That said, it’s a name I’ve heard whispered from people who talk to the people who would know these things, so let’s hope it’s true.  It would suggest we’ve not made any progress on Billy Davies’ clear desire to land Nicky Shorey, however, Ryan Bertrand on a long-term loan from Chelsea isn’t a bad plan B, that’s for sure.

Bertrand is a pacey fullback as he was converted from a winger in his younger days – and has been spoken of as the successor to Ashley Cole.  Then again, I remember when Craig Armstrong was described as Psycho’s natural heir, so I might take that with a pinch of salt for now!  He started out at Gillingham where Chelsea signed him back in 2005 for £125k, with add-ons dependant on progression.

Since then it’s been a lot of loans, he’s been out to Bournemouth a couple of times, Oldham Athletic and then Norwich City in 2007/2008.  He proved a popular addition at struggling Norwich, featuring both as a fullback and a winger – and indeed, returned there for the first half of 2008/2009 before going to Reading for a season-long loan last season where he had a decent season – and, to endear him further, notched his first professional goal – against Derby – last March.

Given the changes to Premier League rules around squads of 25 having to be pre-named, I can see a fair few top flight youngsters and fringe players being made available for loan.  I dearly hope the Evening Post haven’t jumped the gun on this one as they have in the past – the recent past too, they were reporting that Brendan Moloney was going to Notts again for the season before a deal fell apart.  The next 24 hours should make things clear.