Monday, 15 September 2014

Glass Half Ful

In its own way, Nottingham Forest's forthcoming match against Fulham will provide as stern a test of Stuart Pearce's managerial credentials as Sunday's East Midlands derby did.

For one thing, there'll be more expectation on Forest to win, with the West London outfit currently languishing at the bottom of the Championship table after a rotten run of results. It's also very likely that the mood around the Forest camp may be a little flat; after surrendering the lead late-on against Derby and also - it would appear - having lost captain Chris Cohen for some length of time due to another serious knee injury. With Andy Reid limping off as well, one of the Gaffa's main tasks before kickoff on Wednesday will be to pick the boys back up again.

Presuming he can do that (and who could doubt him?) then Wednesday's match should offer Forest a decent chance of putting their disappointment behind them and consolidating their position at the top of the league. They'll have to be wary however; Fulham surely can't play as badly as they have been for too much longer and, once again, Pearce will need to make sure his players show no sign of complacency.

Forest will be forced into at least one change for Wednesday as there's no way Cohen will be able to play any part. If neither Reid nor Matt Fryatt (who missed the Derby game through injury) are available again then I'd be tempted to start Jamie Paterson playing just behind main striker Britt Assombalonga. Paterson showed on many occasions last season that he's an accomplished finisher, and his pace and trickery can cause problems for any defence. After such a calm and assured performance in the most volatile of fixtures, I'd definitely start Robert Tesche in the central midfield role too. Other than that, and hoping that no further injuries occur before Wednesday evening, I'd keep the rest of the team as it was.

The matches come thick and fast in the Championship so there's no time for Forest to dwell on their misfortunes. Nothing would raise the mood more than a comfortable victory and hopefully Pearce and his team will be able to provide it.

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