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Forest strike a blow as play-off battle hots up

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Paul Fletcher | 21:01 UK time, Friday, 22 April 2011

The City Ground

Nottingham Forest manager Billy Davies let out a deep sigh as he walked back to his dugout, hands buried in his pockets.

It was the midpoint in the second half of Friday's crunch Championship fixture between his team and local rivals Leicester - and the Forest boss had just seen his team needlessly squander possession yet again. Leicester struck on the break and briefly had a numerical advantage but they wasted the opportunity.

It was that sort of match - frustrating, nervy, error-strewn and edgy; the sort of contest that does nothing for the length of your fingernails but plenty to obliterate your sense of inner calm.

Forest's 3-2 victory was just their second in 12 league fixtures and lifted them back into the top six. It also effectively ended Leicester's fading hopes of promotion, leaving them six points adrift of Forest with three games left.

Nottingham Forest boss Billy Davies.

Davies is still confident of taking his team to the play-offs. Photo: Getty Images

Forest, Leeds, Millwall, Hull and Burnley are the teams left slugging it out for sixth place. Millwall and Hull are in reasonable form but none of them are exactly red hot at the moment. The scrappy contest at Forest did little to detract from the belief that the team that does claim sixth will stumble over the line, claiming the position by virtue of creating the least number of errors rather than producing the greatest moments of brilliance.

It is little wonder that Davies wastes no opportunity to remind everybody that there will be plenty of twists and turns before the end of the season. He was at it again after Friday's match, while in his notes in the match programme he compared this stage of the season to the final stages of the Grand National.

"The winners can come from any quarter," said Davies, before adding that it was impossible for his squad to work any harder.

Yet after Friday's contest there was also a brutal and searingly honest assessment from Davies, who had seen his team twice throw away the lead minutes after scoring.

"What you see is a naïve young group of players who shoot themselves in the foot constantly," added the Scot.

Davies is a complicated individual, a mass of contradictions, but his record speaks for itself with five play-off campaigns in the last six years. His team now face a Bristol City side lodged in the holiday-focused confines of mid-table before matches against relegation threatened Scunthorpe United and Crystal Palace.

Given Davies' record it would hardly be a big surprise if Forest do finish in the top six, however his team were poor for long stretches of Friday's match. Davies quite rightly observed that their passing was below par and his side lacked width, while for long periods they were frustratingly devoid of the inspiration that a player like Radoslaw Majewski, an unused substitute, can provide.

Forest's late winner came after Leicester keeper Chris Weale allowed Paul McKenna's weak strike to squirm under his body and Davies noted that it was a slice of fortune that has been long overdue for his team. He also talked about staying injury free and repeatedly stressed the importance of refereeing decisions. It was bullish Davies returning to his favourite themes.

However, the sporadic booing aimed at the home team as they left the field at half-time told its own story. There were many emotions in evidence inside the City Ground on Friday but the overriding mood did not strike me as one of feverish expectation, of a crowd that believes their team are close to promotion.

The gloom at the final whistle belonged exclusively to Leicester. Manager Sven-Goran Eriksson more or less conceded it was the end of their promotion dream.

"I'm afraid that is the end of our play-off hopes," said the Swede.

The Foxes Premier League ambitions were terminated in a split-second last season as Yann Kermogant's audacious chipped spot kick looped tamely into the arms of Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall during their play-off semi-final penalty shoot-out. It was a jaw-dropping moment, almost beyond belief, and it turned out to be just about the final act of Leicester's season and the Frenchman's career with the club.

This season the Foxes campaign has unravelled slowly and painfully over the final weeks of the season, with the mounting frustration given expression

Just a few weeks ago it looked as though the struggles of the opening months of the season were firmly in the past as Eriksson's team moved within four points of an automatic promotion place after putting together an eight-match unbeaten run through January and February.

But since their 2-1 win at Bristol City on 18 February, their form has deserted them and big wins over Scunthorpe and Burnley have only provided brief respite from telling defeats against promotion rivals such as QPR, Cardiff, Norwich, Reading and now Forest.

There are plenty of lessons for Eriksson to absorb and much work for the Swede to do over the summer if both he and the club are to return to the top flight at the end of next season. Leicester have lost more games than anyone else in the top 10 and the consequence of an unsettled backline has been a leaky defence that has conceded more than a goal a game on average.

"We are a team that can play good football but we have conceded too many goals and far too easily," bemoaned Eriksson after Friday's defeat.

"If you want to be in the play-offs or win promotion then what we have done is not good enough."

Eriksson needs to work out his best side and stick with it, certainly with regard to the defensive aspects of his team's play. As Paul Gallagher recently observed, the constant chopping and changing has had a detrimental effect.

The club currently have the full quota of six available loan signings, plus defender Miguel Vitor, who is on a season-long deal from Benfica. Some of them - such as strike duo Yakubu and Diomansy Kamara - are high-profile players by Championship standards, but they have not really justified their billing. Yakubu has scored three goals in his last 11 games - and all of those came against Middlesbrough. He was slow, uninspired and hauled off after 57 minutes at Forest.

There are also a whole host of players who will return to the Walkers Stadium in the summer after temporary spells elsewhere, some of whom, such as striker Jeffrey Schlupp currently at Brentford, are extremely highly rated.

Finding the right blend for the next campaign will go a long way to determining Leicester's prospects for success.

Eriksson made it clear that he wants to stay at the club and take them into the top flight. Davies is very much locked in the mindset of taking one game at a time as he tries to win his second promotion to the Premier League after taking Derby there in 2007.

On the evidence of Friday's performance, a substantial improvement is required if Forest are to end their 12-year exile from the league to which their supporters and manager are so desperate to return.

You can follow me throughout the season at twitter.com/Paul__Fletcher

 

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Where did it all go wrong for the tricky trees this season? I can't help but think that Billy's mantra (although he's not saying it so much this season) that we are not ready is correct. We would get punished in the PL if we went up. We may need more time. We are normally strong finishers to seasons - as the sun comes out and the pitches improve so do Forest. Not so this season. Too many strikers and not enough cover elsewhere it seems to me.

    Boyd
    Tudgay
    Blackstock (out at mo..)
    Findlay
    Adebola
    McGoldrick
    Earnshaw

    As good a list of frontmen as ANY in the Championship. Add in the league's best goalie too. But it's in between Camp and those listed above where the problems lie.

    Billy better had get an understanding from Doughty and Arthur in the close season to sort it out. He won't get another season after the next one. Last chance saloon for you Billy...

  • Comment number 2.

    Agreed that the 6th placed team will effectively limp over the line. As a Hull fan I'm left bemoaning our start to the season. The playoffs will be interesting whoever gets there, With no real form team it really could be any one of 7 teams who could join the top two in the PL.
    I can't wait

  • Comment number 3.

    It is time that Billy changed his tune. All he does is moan about refereeing decisions, the "lack of funding" and the inability to sign players during whichever transfer window came before the latest slump in form.

    Forest have spent a lot of money and have nothing to show for it. Billy needs to ask himself what he has done wrong, as the buck will stop with him. Doughty is not going to sack himself when Forest fail to go up, so Billy needs to have some answers, or get ready to recieve his P45.

  • Comment number 4.

    ''However, the sporadic booing aimed at the home team as they left the field at half-time told its own story.''

    I was there and i dont remember any booing? And if there was, they are not the true fans that go to every home game and get fully behind the team.

    We still believe... YOU REDS!!!

  • Comment number 5.

    There was'nt any booing. More than likely it would have been 3 or 4 people in the localised area of where Paul was sitting, out of 20 odd thousand in the rest of the ground. Certainly was none where I was, sporadic or not. Perhaps you would be better served writing about the experience had by the majority, rather than the minority experience of 3 of 4 people booing in your block, Paul. Still makes a nice line though eh. Sporadic booing. LOL.

  • Comment number 6.

    It's interesting how my account has been put on pre-moderation. Seems the BBC cant take criticism. I take it that pre-modding my account was done in retaliation for expressing the opinion yesterday that the BBC is becoming tabloidish, and if so, thats rather pathetic.

  • Comment number 7.

    If Forest make the PO, at least you know who is going to win it - one of the other 3 teams.

    Forest are over-rated. They will either run out of steam (typical Davies Team - think how many times Preston missed the playoffs) or Forest will lose in the SF

    2 wins in the last 13 games - is that really worth promotion? My money would be on Reading or Cardiff, assuming Norwich are promoted. Reading because (before yesterday) they had five wins in a row, so are the form team, and Cardiff because it is ironic they have cheated their way to the PL. How can a team with no money, on the brink of going to admin / wound up, yet still get players from Man City who would make any team in the PL? Life not fair, yet some teams are able to get away with them more than others

  • Comment number 8.

    Why do some fans have problems with booing? It is the only way fans can express their fustration. I would rather boo than starting swearing at players. Forest fans have every right to boo their team, esp if they have only won 3 in the last 13 games. It shows the team that they are not happy, tells them that their ain't playing well, and that they should be winning. They are getting 1000's a week, so they should be earning their money. If Forest misses promotion, the players will still get paid, play for the team next season or find a new team. The only ones who lose out from not getting promotion are the fans.

  • Comment number 9.

    The problem is, as ever, too many teams are not good enough for the PL (Blackpool, Wigan, even to some extent my own NUFC and West Ham) and too many teams in CCC are too good for that division e.g. QPR, Forest and Leeds - thats why the CCC needs to be cut to 18 teams along with the PL - make it worth seeing as an 18 team CCC would be awesome and would assist with quality.

    It's going to be a mad PL next season with classic names in it - QPR and Forest hopefully and it looks at least one Welsh side.

    BTW I'm mnaging Forest on Champ Man (other football sims are available) and I finished 5th in PL last season and I have Becks as a player-coach!

  • Comment number 10.

    I attend forest matches pretty often throughout the season, around 20-30 id say and cant help but wonder what some fans actually see when they turn up? Majority I have heard think Billy is the best manager out there but I just dont get it. Yes he has a very good play off record, and got us there last season, and again we have gone close but I believe we will end up 8th come the end of the season. Billy knew what he was taking on when he took the job regarding the transfer policy and I am just getting bored of his usual line 'we need more players/funds etc'. When you look at the squad that played yesterday, it shows you exactly where the problems lie. No other left back in the whole club looking to push on into the first team,and the one who is suspended is here on loan, so we are forced to play Gunter there, who failed to use his left foot all game, looked to come inside every time, or went backwards. Maloney did OK but has had better games, but does not look like a defender who is playing for a team competing for a place in the premiership. Then comes Mckenna, last season he looked like the player we have been missing for so long, someone who is calm on the ball, plays the easy ball and protects the defence whilst the others do the attacking. However over the past few games, esp the 2 shown on TV recently, he has been one of the worst players on the team. Always trying the Hollywood pass and it not coming off, giving away stupid fouls that just dont need happen and getting caught to far up the pitch and not having the pace to get back. Then when you see how many forwards we have it just gets worse, yes Earnshaw, Tudgay, Blackstock, and McGoldrick should all be there in the squad, but Adebola is awful, yes he holds it well, and scores the odd important goal, but he takes up the wages that could be put towards a lb, and why go for Boyd?Yes he has done well up in the SPL, but has done very little here, and when looking at the performances, he doesn't look like he will either. McCleary is another one who does the odd bit every so often that makes him look promising, then will be awful for the next 6-7 games, and no where near good enough to challenge the first 11. The reason behind our failures to make the playoff finals every season is pretty simple, the starting 11 are fine, but then when injuries, suspensions kick in, the replacements are just not up to the standard required.

  • Comment number 11.

    I was there yesterday, and it's fair to say that should Forest scrape into the Play-offs then our season will end there. Most of our players are back now, but we are patently not at the same level as Swansea, Norwich, Reading or Cardiff (despite having beaten them twice this season). Yesterday's result was much better than the perfomance - take out the 5 very good goals, and it was a poor game. Leicester weren't much better than Forest. Seems to me that Billy and Sven flatter to deceive; it's apparent that the Division's Manager of the Year is Paul Lambert - spent less than half than those two and with half the budget, yet is heading for the Premier League.

  • Comment number 12.

    It seems every side can point to bad games or a bad run of form that will be their excuse for not getting sixth place. My team the Clarets are no different. Whoever deserves it will be the one that finishes sixth. I do suspect though that some sides view sixth place (bit like fourth in the PL) as being the target rather than promotion. Besides a few bob it means nothing unless you go up, and only three will obviously. At least two of Cardiff, Swansea, Norwich and Reading will end the season disappointed, and history tells us that near miss affects them next season too.

    Of the chasers I wasn't at all impressed with Forest recently, not enough quality, overreliant on McGugan wonder strikes, and based their whole campaign on not shipping goals, which hasn't lasted. Millwall are OK but have even less quality. Hull are a danger but have QPR Away coming up. Leeds ship far too many goals and were never in danger of being promoted, looking at their run in that's it for them. As for the Clarets, likely to fall a tad short, bad luck with injuries, no "leaders" on the pitch, and similar to our last two managers have neglected to improve a dodgy defence which we were lucky to get promoted with.

    Forest by a nose, prior to a play off capitulation, is my prediction.

  • Comment number 13.

    I have to dissagree with most of these posts. I believe we have cause for optimism. Firstly Findley is back, and from what I saw I am very impressed. He looked fresh, sharp, clever and skillfull. He could be a great asset to us in these closing stages.

    Secondly Boyd. He hasn't really set the stadium alight I admit, but I put that down to the "settling in period" I though in the minutes that he was on yesterday he put in an exellent performance, ground away, chased everything, and got into some very dangerous positions, so I will certainly be keeping an eye on his progress.

    Personally I was dissapointed not to see Majewski yesterday. It was clear our midfield lacked ideas and movement, and I think he would have provided that, and put a bit of confidence back into the team, but oh well, he will be nice and rested now.

    Earnshaw also put in a great effort and really slugged it out. Both he and Tudguy did. And both were rewarded with goals. Tudguys was cracking. They didn't get very good service from the middle of the park but they kept on going so well done to them.

    On a final note, my personal Man of the match, Mcgugan. He had a belter. If only the players around him could have allowed him more movement (majewski could have) What a cross to lead to the first goal. It was literally "PIN POINT" procission to Tudguys head, right inbetween the two defenders. He was putting in great balls and trying his utmost all afternoon.

    So while their were negatives yesterday (primarily in midfield), there were also plenty of posatives to take.

    Oh and for good measure he is another for you... Konch is back!

    There is much to be exited about, so lets get behind the lads, believe in them, and King Billy Davies, and I'm sure we can make it into the playoffs, and when we do, I wouldn't want to be a supporter of a club who has to face us.

    YOOOOOOOOOOOOU REEEEEEEEEEEEEDS!!!!

  • Comment number 14.

    Morning all.

    TomNFFC and Riggadon - I'm not really into the idea of trying to spin stuff too heavily. As the whistle went at the break I definitely heard booing from a lot more than 20-30 people. Several people sat close to me commented on it.

    I'm not laying into it as such, after all, Forest had been very disappointing in the period up to half time after Leicester equalised. I thought it said a lot about the mood and tension about the place.

    I most definitely would not write off Forest. Whoever finishes sixth will be battle hardened and might have a sense of momentum missing from some of the teams coming third, four and fifth.

    However, from what we saw on Friday it is obvious that Forest will need to be able to put a more complete and composed performance together in the play-off games if they are to go up.

    What now for super leaky Leicester? A busy old summer beckons for Sven. It will be fascinating to see how much he is given to spend and what he does with it.

  • Comment number 15.

    By the way, I must mention a short exchange between the bloke who reads out the teams etc over the tannoy at Forest and a young mascot, who he briefly interviewed on the pitch.

    PA bloke: "What will be the score today?"

    Mascot: "2-0."

    PA bloke: "Too?"

    Mascot: "Nil."

  • Comment number 16.

    I'm a season ticket holder so have seen every home game this season. I certainly didn't hear any booing yesterday. As a team we've not trained on from last season. Only Chambers is at a higher level of performance consistently from last term. Earnshaw hasn't scored enough goals, Camp hasn't been anywhere near last season's form and there has been a lack of creativity from midfield. There will be big changes in the summer whatever the outcome with so many out of contract players and I think the squad needs a shake up.

  • Comment number 17.

    What now for super leaky Leicester indeed? I revel in the failure of teams who attempt purely to buy their way to where they want to be. Leicester's wage bill must be phenomenal!
    I've said for years that the Championship is the best and most entertaining league in England. It's a shame that the investors/owners have figured out that they can pick up a mediocre Championship team and get them to the PL with a small amount of money compared to actually buying a PL team.

  • Comment number 18.

    @No. 15

    Fantastic exchange!

  • Comment number 19.

    They say that the only thing worst than bad publicity is no publicity.

    When it comes to Forest, the tone is almost inevitably negative, that I wish the national media just didn't bother.

  • Comment number 20.

    The booing was muted, if indeed it did happen. I think the fans were well and truly behind Forest yesterday. Granted, there was silence when the Foxes equalised - but apart from that the atmosphere was good and positive.

    Maybe the flukey third goal will kick start a bit of a return to form - back to January when wave after wave of Forest attack brought a string of victories.

    I think you'll find the PA bloke said 'To,' not 'Too.'

  • Comment number 21.

    The article says its about Forest, yet over half of it is about Leicester

  • Comment number 22.

    There is a fair amount of rubbish on this thread. Firstly we do have a left back other than Konchesky. He has been fit all year and spent the first 6 months on loan at Palace. 14 games he played I believe and even scored a trademark header from a corner. Why Billy preferred Gunter at left back to a natural left-back I don't know. I believe we won't have Konch for the play-offs, so Billy had the opportunity to try something different due to his suspension. The fact Moloney has been dramatically promoted to a starting role, even in place of Gunter recently, seems to be Billy sorting out his plan A. Moloney has done well from what I have seen. He used to play quite often under Calderwood but seemed to dissapear when Billy took over.

    The causes of Forests recent demise have been clear. The first crack in the armour was when Olofinjana ended Blackstock's season away at Cardiff. The club quickly brought in Findlay and Tudgay, and while playing for a contract Tuds was excellent, but since we signed him permanently he seems to have lost his edge. Findlay obviously immediately got a long term injury as soon as he put pen to paper.

    The second crack in the armour was when the otherwise imperious Moussi got injured in the win over Coventry. He even crossed the ball for a goal while injured, bless his little cotton socks. Without Moussi out and with an only ever half-fit McKenna able to really do the holding hole our midfield has turned into a bit of a sham defensively. You can tell how important Moussi is by the fact, Billy rushed him back when only half-fit, and was prepared to make excuses for him when he has made mistakes. The moose is still not fully fit, and we still miss his total commitment and drive. The fact he may leave for a free in the summer to a Premier League club is pretty depressing.

    This summer is massive for Forest, whether we go up or not. Can we replace all those set to leave on Freebies? Can we ever make money from players rather than always letting them go for free?? Players like Moussi, Earnshaw, Wilson are worth decent money to someone. The board letting players run their contracts down is pretty stupid.

  • Comment number 23.

    Spot on Owd West.

    And the more times you read the article, the worst it gets.

  • Comment number 24.

    Motgod osc (post 20) - point taken. Very stupid of me.

    Owd West (post 21) - the article is about both teams as it reflects on Friday's game in the context of the push for play-off places in the Championship. Had Leicester won it may well have started by talking about them.

  • Comment number 25.

    Good article. I don't think Billy Davies is bemoaning a lack of overall funds, but rather how the infamous Acquisitions Panel decides to spend them, hence his "advise and recommend" mantra that he wheels out as each transfer deadline day approaches.

    I think one missing story here is just how inconsistent many of the top half Championship teams have been this season, not just those battling for 6th. Forest started off very slow, then raced up the table, and then collapsed into poor form. Form so bad that over a season would see them relegated - yet they're still currently playoff contenders, and could mathematically still grab 4th place (although the midfield could do with a new protractor to figure out their passing triangles).

    During that climb Forest passed, amongst others, Cardiff, Norwich briefly and nearly caught QPR, all of whom themselves had mid-season wobbles to varying degrees. QPR and Norwich look stronger again now, but I don't think the Graduating Class of 2011 is going to be anywhere near as strong as last year's.

  • Comment number 26.

    Mr. Fletcher - what you heard were the home fans chanting 'MOOOOOOO' at Guy Moussi, not 'Boo' at the team, although you're not the first person to confuse the two.

  • Comment number 27.

    @ Harbringer of Hope. I assume you mean Joel Lynch. News flash for you, he is injured, so please get your facts right as stop bemoaning a manager that has done great things so far with the resources he has been given at this club.

    Secondly people of moaning of the realatively (but not overly) negative nature of this articel. What did you expect, Fletcher to coe on here and write about how amazing we are and how we win win the title?! No, why? Because we are not, and we wont. This is a good and balanced article that praises our achievements whilst highlighting our main problems.

    Maybe if the majority of our fans weren't such to**ers to the media, they'd be more willing to cover us?! Makes me ashamed to be a Red reading some of these comments. And as for the booing, I heard it loud and clear.

  • Comment number 28.

    Maybe what the problem with the Championship in general is that most teams want to get to the Premier League in some misguided vision of taking on the world ? My partner goes to every match at the City Ground and openly admits that her team aren't good enough for promotion. My uncle has a season ticket for Preston and would rather them get relegated (looking likely) than join the other north west teams in the Prem'.

    Could it be also that every kick, throw in and result is over analysed to the point of taking the enjoyment out of the game ? Sure look back at the end of the season and wonder where things went wrong or right but spare us the "desperate to return" drama please.

    There you are rant over, for now :o)

  • Comment number 29.

    QPR and Norwich to go up automatically.. the play offs is anyones game. Cardiff missed a great chance to beat QPR and now I don't see them getting that elusive second spot. I fancy Reading in the play offs as (if it stays like it is) they'd play Swansea and the Swans have been diabolical recently away from home (1 point from last 6 away games?) I just don't think Cardiff will get over the line again although I would fancy them to finish 3rd (and play Burnley in the play offs.) Cardiff - Reading final with Reading to clinch it 2-1.

  • Comment number 30.

    I think Harbinger's referring to Julian Bennett.

    I'd echo the boo's were in all likelihood cries of 'moooos' rather than criticism of the performance - which apart from the now all too common defensive lapse - wasn't bad.

  • Comment number 31.

    Quote:
    27. At 08:33am 24th Apr 2011, Forest_Fever wrote:

    @ Harbringer of Hope. I assume you mean Joel Lynch. News flash for you, he is injured, so please get your facts right as stop bemoaning a manager that has done great things so far with the resources he has been given at this club.

    Get my facts right?!?! Try looking closer to home.

    Motgod osc is absolutely right. The fact i said that a) he's fit all season b) he played on loan at Palace, is more than enough clues to any slightly knowledgable Forest fan, that I was talking about Julian Bennett. He has been on the bench a lot recently and got on the pitch away at Swansea. I thought it was a real opportunity to play Julian on Friday, rather than Gunter out of position on the left, and play Moloney on the right. But as i stated in my original post, with Konch not available for the play-offs. Moloney's sudden promotion to a starting role in the last few games appears to be Billy's Plan A. Personally i'd rather get Julian in the side and play Gunter in his normal position. I don't like square pegs in round holes. Gunter is ok on the left, but we need better than ok should we get into the play-offs. Julian is a big-game player. Anyone who remembers Julian (League 1 team of the year left-back) in our promotion campaign will know his qualities. He is very much a big-game player. His goal and performance versus Yeovil in the last game of the season when we won promotion, shows exactly what I am on about. His injury issues were a great dissapointment for me.

  • Comment number 32.

    In response to 'QPR4ME' - May I just point out that, yes, Billy Davies was significantly backed during the summer of 09 in which he brought in 9 players. However, a large proportion of those were at the club on loan the season previous in which Billy pulled off a miracle of keeping us in the Championship. Without the 9 players brought in, we wouldn't have even had a team to put out. Let's not also forget that despite a large number of players coming in, we still had a very thin squad which, in the end, was our downfall. Not enough depth once hit by one or two injuries.

    So, this common conception from opposition fans that we have spent big, this is true (I believe it was just under £9 million that we spent) but your talking about a club that had'nt had investment in the squad for years previous and in fact since that summer we have only brought in two players on permanent deals (Tudgay & Findley) one of which was on a free!.

    Where do I think it has gone wrong? the injury to Blackstock was a major blow although we did cope and have our best spell of the season without his goals. But 'Dex' does give us a bit of everything up top and for me next season will be a great one for us 'Reds' fans (Tudgay, Findley, Blackstock, McGoldrick not to mention Earnshaw, Adebola, Tyson, Garner if they aren't let go or moved on). The left back issue has also really hindered us, Bertrand took a little time to settle but when he did he was a strong part of our team and then was called back to Chelsea, now we have Konchesky who, although started well, in recent weeks has shown why Liverpool fans were on his back (sendings off, can't cross a ball, a part of a defence leaking goals). This summer Forest NEED to invest in a long term left back, not someone on loan, not a merchant, someone who will improve us and is hungry... (Praying we get in Bertrand!) Not to mention the lack of width on the wings, we desperately are in need of, in my opinion, two proven wingers. Also, if you look at our team sheets since K.Wilson signed a pre contract with Celtic, you will see W.Morgan and L.Chambers have been ever present, even when they've had the odd poor game. That is something we also need to invest in, another option at centre back.

  • Comment number 33.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 34.

    @ 21 - Come on, let's not get greedy, I think Leicester are worth a mention, and it's an interesting comparison. In fact, whilst we might not be the team we were last year, look at Leicester. All this excitement about Sven, all this Eastern cash, loanees like Yakubu and Kamara, and they've gone backwards. I know Sven had a tricky job on after their dire start under Sousa, but like Paul said, they were looking very dangerous for a while and he hasn't been able to maintain the consistency.

    As for the team I really care about, I do fear for us a bit in the play-offs. I suppose the fact that I'm not even that sure about us getting there with Scunny at home and Palace away (two teams with nothing to really play for) says it all. Leeds v. Burnley is a good fixture for us, but Millwall have got two very winnable games. Still, it's in our hands, and if we don't win our last two games we won't be worthy of a shot at the PL. At least Super Joe Garner won't be able to play against us for Scunny!

    What's all this about Konchesky? He's been underwhelming for a player with England caps and a good few hundred PL games under his belt. Against Norwich his crossing was abject, and his sending off was unprofessional. Both bookings were ridiculous. For me, there's no comparison between him and Shorey last season. I didn't think Gunter was that bad when playing out of position the other day anyway.

    But let's focus on the positives. We do look like we've got goals in us, even though we're not that solid at the back. Boyd's starting to bed in, Earnie's still dangerous, Findley looks pacey and intelligent. Chambers is a candidate for most improved player in the league. Surprised there hasn't been more of a mention of Dexter though, I think we've really missed him. Pace, strength, an eye for goal and the ability to play alongside a strike partner or on his own, bringing midfielders into play.

    I'm just focused on getting behind the team for the rest of the season. Let's not forget where we were a few years ago!

  • Comment number 35.

    Forest and Leeds were 2 examples of sides with big reuptations who came to the Liberty Stadium and didn't know how to pass/keep the ball.
    In the main, this league is of poor quality.
    Hull and Norwich are the best sides I have seen this season at the Liberty as they came to try to win, not out everyone behind the ball and lump it forward at every opportunity.
    I would hate to watch the likes of Forest, Millwall, Cardiff week by week with players struggling with ball retention, poor passing and 'knock it to the big man up front' tactics.

  • Comment number 36.

    Is this the same Swansea that we beat home and away last season? The same Swansea who never concede at home, and yet Forest score there? Chelsea's Borini won the game for Swansea. It would have been an interesting game without him.

 

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