Friday, 3 October 2014

Any Wich Way You Can

Ten games in to the Championship season and it's already shaping up to be as close as ever, if not even more so. Before this weekend's round of matches, just three points separates the top eight teams, with nobody seemingly able to take a firm grip of the league as yet.

Forest are a solitary point better off than this time last year, which isn't bad, but it feels like we could've sneaked a point or two more. What does make happier reading however, is the comparison against the same matches last season. For the purpose of this, I've assumed Fulham are QPR from last year:

Match                     2013/14 Result               2014/15 Result           Comparison
Blackpool (H)         L (0)                               W (3)                          +3
Bolton (A)              D (1)                                D (1)                           0
Bournemouth (A)   L (0)                                W (3)                          +3
Reading (H)           L (0)                                W (3)                          +3
Sheffield Wed (A)  W (3)                               W (3)                           0
Derby (H)               W (3)                               D (1)                          -2
Fulham (H)             W (3) (QPR)                   W (3)                           0
Millwall (A)              D (1)                               D (1)                           0
Brighton (H)            L (0)                               D (1)                          +1
Wigan (A)               L (0)                                D (1)                          +1

So, ten matches in we're some nine points better off than in the same set of matches last season. That has to be a positive and puts a better reflection on the last couple of results, though of course there's no doubting that we'd have preferred wins. Still, three draws on the trot isn't as bad as it first seems.

Anyway, on to our next opponents Ipswich Town. The Tractor Boys are currently nicely placed in that group of eight teams at the top, having made a solid start to the season. This has been helped in no small part by the form of ex-Forest striker David McGoldrick. Yes, the same David McGoldrick who seemed totally bereft of confidence and form during his entire spell with the Reds; who constantly seemed on the verge of great things, but never delivered them. Indeed he's flourished so much since leaving Trentside that, in the recent transfer window, it's reported that Ipswich turned down an £8m bid from Leicester City for him. Wow.

One would think that he'll be motivated to show Forest fans what he's really capable of on Sunday. Of course, we'll all be hoping that he reverts to the form he showed when lining up at the City Ground wearing red, rather than continuing his current hot streak. With Luke Chambers and Paul Anderson also in the Ipswich ranks there'll be a few reunions come Sunday afternoon.

The Reds will be hoping that Matt Fryatt, who returned as a substitute against Wigan, will be sufficiently recovered to take a place in the starting XI. This match may have come too soon for Andy Reid and David Vaughan though. Still, Fryatt's talent and versatility means he could take a deeper role behind Britt Assombalonga in a 4-4-1-1, as Forest look to end their current scoring drought.

After the Ipswich match we come to the next international break of the season. While these hiatuses are often blamed for stalling momentum, this one could actually do Forest a favour. If we can get a positive result on Sunday and get the likes of Reid, Vaughan and Jack Hobbs fit and well during the break, we'll return to action against Cardiff still near the top of the table and in great shape to push on.

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