Friday, 22 August 2014

Reading Between the Lines

Well, looking back at my preview of the Bournemouth match, I was near enough spot-on. Both Britt Assombalonga and Callum Wilson found the net, Bournemouth did indeed concede their first goal of the season but also managed to score themselves. Indeed the only thing I got wrong was the result - but from a Forest perspective I'm glad I did.

After the first half pummelling and going behind early on in the second half though, an away win seemed very unlikely. But this Stuart Pearce-built Forest side is showing signs of character and resilience and managed to come back and deliver the kind of smash-and-grab victory that other sides did to us all too often last season. It's also to Pearce's great credit that he recognised where his initial team selection had gone wrong and rectified it with enough time left for his changes to make a difference.

So next up it's back to the City Ground to face Reading, a team containing no less than four ex-Forest players. Presumably Jamie Mackie won't be eligible to line up against the Reds and I believe that Garath McCleary is still recovering from injury, but that will still leave Chris Gunter and Simon Cox to face their former employees on the banks of the Trent.

How should Forest line up? Four of Forest's remaining injured players: Henri Lansbury, Jamaal Lascelles, David Vaughan and Kelvin Wilson, played either part or all of a behind-closed-doors match against the Nike Academy on Thursday. Even so, it's probably too early for any of them to start, though a place on the bench for one or more is not out of the question. It's also unlikely that newest signing Robert Tesche will play any part.

Bearing all that in mind, my preference would be the following line-up:

------------------------------Darlow------------------------------

---Hunt-----------Hobbs-------------Mancienne--------Harding--

--Burke----------Cohen---------------Reid-------------Antonio--

--------------Assombalonga----------Fryatt-----------------------


Subs: (assuming all injured players cannot make the bench) De Vries, Lichaj, Fox, Osborn, Paterson, McLaughlin, Veldwijk

Harding was unlucky to be dropped against Bournemouth and, given Fox's shaky performance, deserves another chance. The extra attacking power of Hunt gives him the edge over Lichaj. Though Antonio was subbed at half-time on Tuesday I'd start him as his pace and aerial power can trouble Gunter, who isn't the best in the air. The rest of the team pretty much picks itself right now.

This won't be an easy match, their just aren't any in the Championship. However, Forest's tails must be up right now and, if they play to the best of their abilities, there's no reason they can't extend their confident start to the season.

2 comments:

  1. Will be interesting to see what kind of reception Cox gets, hopefully a good one - after some of the abuse he's received will he be able to resist a little niggle if he scores? Will be nice to see Gunts back - until he gets Antonio booked lol.

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  2. I wouldn't blame Cox if he did got OTT with a celebration if he scored, the stick he got on Twitter was ridiculous. Yes he was frustrating, particularly with the ability he clearly has, but the bashing he took was well over the top.

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