Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Brent Cross

Anyone foolish enough to be writing off Nottingham Forest's season already should take a look at the League table this morning and note who's top. It's Bournemouth. The same Bournemouth who Forest beat 2-1 on their own turf. The same Bournemouth who, after a great start to the season, hit some patchy form and plummeted down the table. They've now strung together six wins in a row, so if they can do it, why can't we?

Admittedly, at the moment we don't look anything like being capable of that but I'm sure Bournemouth's fans felt the same after slumping to a 3-1 home defeat to Leeds United. My point is, things can change very quickly in the Championship. We've found that out to our cost recently; but if we could manage a few good consecutive results we'd soon be back on the rise.

Our first opportunity to do this comes with the visit of Brentford. Now I'll have to be honest and confess I don't know much about Brentford other than they play at Griffin Park and their nickname is the Bees. I'm guessing that's more to do with the first letter of their name than any resemblance to the insects, as I've never seen any red-and-white-striped bees.

Anyway, they'll be another team that we cannot take lightly. After all, their last result was a comeback victory against already crowned champions and League Cup winners former League leaders Derby; and while I may be being flippant, I grudgingly admit that the sheep won't lose too many this season. Therefore any team that does beat them has to be treated with respect. It also has to be said that Brentford are on the same points as us, so we've absolutely no right to treat this as a guaranteed win.

Quite how Forest will line up against the Bees is anyone's guess. Matt Fryatt (groin) and Kelvin Wilson (family bereavement) could both be back in contention and the 3-0 reverse against Huddersfield would suggest that improvement is needed at both ends of the pitch. The presence of Tom Ince allows more flexibility up front and in midfield as we could, for example, push Michail Antonio further forward to partner Britt Assombalonga and have Ince and Chris Burke on the wings. Or have Ince just behind a front one (or two), That's for Stuart Pearce to decide.

His biggest job however may not be selecting the XI to start, but rather to instil some confidence in those he does deem best for the job. Back-to-back defeats and first-minute goal concessions are never good for the psyche (or the Psycho!), so Pearce and his coaching staff need to build the team back up and remind them that, when they were proudly perched on the top of the table just a few weeks ago, they were there on merit.

This is a test for Pearce, there's no doubt about it. However, in my opinion anyone questioning his suitability for the job needs to have a long, hard think about things. This isn't just sentimentality speaking, it's practicality too. We've all seen first hand that constantly chopping and changing managers is not a recipe for success. We need to pick one man, stick with him, and let him build the team, and indeed the whole club, to get where we want to be. Nobody will be more driven and committed to do that than Pearce. When Forest were first relegated from the Premier League he stuck with us, and ultimately reaped the rewards. As an England player and former captain he could've moved to many clubs, but he showed patience and loyalty. As fans and as a club, we owe him the same.

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