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.

Joe’s Garner go to Huddersfield..

Hot on the heels of news that Dele Adebola’s injury wasn’t as bad as first feared, the Reds decided that they could do with one less striker by loaning out Joe Garner to League One Huddersfield Town for 6 months.  Personally I’m a bit disappointed, whilst I concede fully he’s got some rough edges, I really rate Joe and wanted to see him get a run in the side.

Having said that, if he isn’t in Billy’s plans (I assume he knew about this outgoing transfer after Perch-gate!) then it is definitely prudent to get him out on loan to get regular first team football.  I hope that is the only reason and it’s not with a view to disposing of him permanently – not least because we are very unlikely to recoup anything near what we paid Carlisle for him!

I’ve still heard nothing but rumour-peddling on the incoming transfers front – certainly I’m not the kind of person who’s likely to get too frustrated just yet, but on the back of being rather spoiled last season with incomings – it is starting to get a touch concerning.  I’m certainly looking forward to the evening with Billy Davies at The Approach next week if there doesn’t seem to be any activity by then.

In other news, the Reds had two teams out for friendlies tonight – a ‘weaker’ side (Smith, Lesseles, Gibbons, Anderson, McGugan, Adebola, Tyson, Artymatas, Moussi, Moloney, Lynch) went to Mansfield and triumphed 2-1 thanks to goals from Tyson and Adebola, a ‘stronger’ side (Camp, Gunter, N Byrne, Bennett, Cohen, Thornhill, McKenna, Majewski, McCleary, Earnshaw, Blackstock) went along with Billy to Tranmere and duly lost 2-0!

Probably the biggest question posed by that paragraph is who the hell some of those people are in the team that went to Mansfield!  I’m saving cash at the moment so have elected to ignore the temptation to go to pre-season friendlies, so if any of you popped up to Merseyside or North Nottinghamshire this evening please feel free to share your thoughts on the performances (either in comments or by email if you prefer!)

Transfer news! But it’s outgoing..

I seem to be certainly not in a majority in that I’m quite sad that James Perch has gone to Newcastle.  The Magpies were after him last season, and even upon attaining promotion have kept up that interest, and today completed the signing of him for an ‘undisclosed fee’ (rumours suggest that the fee would round up to a million, which – despite me liking him – feels like a fair price verging on outrageous generosity in fairness).

Whilst some people on message boards seem overly eager to point to his performance in the play-offs at left back (which were bad, in fairness), I too can remember notable positive performances – certainly up at Newcastle last season which I imagine would have cemented their intent to sign him.  Then he was at right back, and that for me is his best position from my viewing of him, so it’s unsurprising we’ve let him go – because he’s not as good as Gunts.

The problem any fullback has at Forest is the fact that we have – for some time – played without any form of ‘proper’ wingers, and that means there can often be a real onus on our fullbacks to attack, and when we’re under the kosh, a lack of cover for them to help repel the attacks on opponents.  It’s a situation which almost inevitably leads to our fullbacks looking exposed, and quite often a bit silly – certainly not helped when they’re playing on their wrong side.

The other problem for Perchy is that he was a victim of his own versatility, and his willingness to (attempt to) adapt to different positions.  A great tackler, but relatively poor passer, meant his cameos as a holding midfielder often looked unconvincing.  He never seemed ‘big’ enough to cover centreback (his supposed preferred position) – but his willingness to work hard and honestly meant he was frequently deployed his suboptimal positions.

Looking at Newcastle’s squad I can see him being lined up as a rightback, and whilst there may be question marks over whether or not he’ll step up to the top flight – I think if that’s how Newcastle deploy him he might surprise a few of those supporters who seem to take great delight in his departure.  Coupled with a solid centreback pairing and an actual right winger infront of him… but we shall see, I suppose!

With season ticket general sale well underway, it refocused the spotlight on the lack of incoming signings so far – there have been LOTS of rumours, lots of ‘done deals’ yet to materialise and supposedly talks and interest ongoing.  I would hope in dispensing with the services of a ‘utility’ player it would suggest that there is a degree of confidence that we are covering some of the gaping holes in our squad – but well, past experience suggests that might not be so!

Regardless, pre-season training is underway – and if you check out this page on the official site you can see spirits appear to be good in the Forest camp, with some slightly goofy poses from Kelvin Wilson, and a slightly disturbing shot of  Billy stretching!  If I were a betting man (which I am), then I would be expecting to see some kind of incoming transfer news at some stage this week, and will certainly be having a bit of a sulk if I’m wrong.

However, to return to the original thread of conversation – I would at least like to thank Perchy for his time with Forest, and wish him the best of luck with Newcastle.  He’s not always had what I believe to be the fairest treatment from some sections of Forest fans despite being a local lad who’s come through the ranks, it will be very interesting to see how he gets on elsewhere and whose assessment of him abilities turns out to be more realistic…

Shorey, Shorey.. Hallelujah?

In between the buzzing of the vuvuzelas there are increasingly insistent whisperings that the Reds might just be close to sealing a deal for Villa fullback Nicky Shorey.  Of course, we know all about him from his loan spell with us – and how tits up our league form went once that loan expired.  Figures ranging from £1.5-3m are being bandied about, which would sound about right given he has a year to go on his contract at Villa.

After his spell with us he went on to enjoy a loan spell with Fulham, although with the return to fitness of their first choice leftback had limited opportunities – no such dilemma at the City Ground, where our only recognised left back is a chap who’s been out injured for a year and a half (oh, and Joel Lynch too – the so oft forgotten man).  Whether the Reds can fit Shorey into their wage structure remains to be seen.

The usual whisperings about us trying to prize the Championship top scorer Peter Whittingham away from Cardiff are still ongoing, although has quietened over our designs on their neighbour’s Swansea’s midfielder Darren Pratley – with Charlton’s Bailey touted as a potential secondary target.  Swindon’s Austin has been mentioned, as has St Ledger from Preston – basically, I think – despite the distraction of the World Cup – we’re rapidly approaching the ‘name anyone and one will stick’ stage.

With the season ticket renewal deadline looming I’d be very surprised if Forest weren’t attempting to get something signed and sealed though – Shorey would be an ideal candidate to offer that ‘statement of intent’ so sought after to tip those waverers into the renewal camp.  Less prominent whispers on the blog Facebook page suggested young defender Dawson from Rochdale, and winger Jimmy Kebe from Reading.

As ever with such rumours, take ’em with a pinch of salt – but I would be exceedingly pleased if we did manage to lure Nicky Shorey down to the Championship to try to boost our promotion credentials.  Anybody heard any exciting our outlandish rumours I’ve not yet covered?  Who do you think the Reds should be looking to bring in to strengthen our squad?

Reds to be Boyd by midfield signing?..

I’ve tried not to be too impatient on the lack of movement in the transfer market – whilst Billy bangs the drum after each match I’m content to let him keep doing so.  Whilst of course, like any good football fan, I always want us to be strengthening, signing players and generally being awesome, I’m well grounded in the reality that typically we get more downs than ups as football fans.  And this season we’ve had a fair few more ups than were accustomed to already, so I’m not one to be ungrateful!

I must admit though I’m struggling to contain excitement that we are apparently attempting to prise George Boyd away from struggling Peterborough – a loan move which presumably will have an in-built permanent signing in the summer to make it worthwhile for the London Road side.  A highly rated wide-midfielder, Boyd has scored double-figures already this season in a side that hasn’t exactly cut up any trees this season – and at 24 can certainly be considered one for the future.

He cost £260k from Stevenage Borough the 2007 January window and averages a little over one goal in four appearances for the Posh.  A left winger, who’s pretty tall at 6’1, and capable as playing up front too.  He has represented England at ‘England C’ level (non-league), but latterly switched to Scotland and has played for their B team after establishing his grandmother was born in Glasgow.  In the immortal words of Brian Clough, he also desperately needs to get a bloody hair cut.

Joking aside, hopefully the increasingly rife rumours of this from Forest and Peterborough fans alike means there’s something to this, it would certainly give an extra dimension to our midfield, it would give us a boost as fans and would start to freshen things up which Billy clearly desperately wants to do.  If it were to happen, then it could pave the way for Cohen to relieve Perch of his left-back deputising and – you never know – actually see Forest with a left-footer on the left wing, and a right-footer on the right?

Now I’ve posted this he’ll probably end up at Middlesbrough or something… although the local Peterborough press seem to think it will happen, if so, you’re very welcome George!

Edit: I was too impatient – Posh’s chairman lamenting and defending Boyd’s sale to Nottingham Forest.  As I type, he’s ours subject to medical – so most definitely a big welcome to you, George!

Reds reject derisory Newcastle bid for Perchy

Perchy: Not for sale

Rumours broke yesterday that Newcastle had made an offer for the versatile James Perch. Today Forest confirmed that was indeed the case, that the offer was derisory and had been rejected – and that James Perch is not for sale, particularly not to a promotion rival.

In his unique and highly repetitive style, Billy pointed out:

They have made an offer for James, but it is a derisory offer and the bottom like is that he is not for sale anyway.  We are not interested in selling James at any price, particularly not to one of our rivals in the Championship.  As I said, the offer was derisory, but it doesn’t matter because he is not somebody we want to sell.

We do not want to sell any of our players.  We want to strengthen our squad, not weaken it.  James has not featured very much this season, but that is purely because he has been injured and, during the time he has been out, I have said all along that we have missed him.  He is a vital member of this squad.  I guess we have got a few people worried.

This is good news for me – Perchy is oft maligned by Forest fans but I’ve always appreciated his workrate and tenacity.  His ability to put a tackle in is second to none in our team, in my opinion, and with some work on his passing and decision-making he could continue to develop into a better player.

It is also reassuring that the current league leaders are bidding for a player who – even if fit – would be far from guaranteed a starting place in our team given the myriad of options we have open to us.  Given Billy’s proclavity to play Gunter over at left back and Perch at right back when required, that might be needed sooner rather than later.

Still to your guns Forest, and don’t sell to Newcastle.

Shorey to stay..

The Reds have been able to extend the loan of the Villa fullback.  But only ’til the end of January rather than the end of the season as we’d hoped.  Still, this is good news as it’s patently obvious from looking at our squad we need a left-back, and Nicky Shorey has been absolute class since being introduced into the side.

He won’t be featuring in Saturday’s FA Cup tie with Birmingham City, and Martin O’Neill will be able to recall the player with 24 hours notice should he need to.  So we won’t be waving goodbye to him just yet, which is fantastic news – I’m hoping that the interesting timing on the loan suggests that Forest may be hoping to do permanent business depending on how January goes, but maybe I’m reading too much into that!

I’m unclear on loan rules – so whether we can ‘extend’ the loan agreement at the end of January if Villa are willing, or whether we can enter into a new third loan before the deadline ends is totally unclear for me.  So for now, I’m just grateful he’ll be on board to feature in our next few fixtures!