Nottingham Forest away. When looking at the fixture list, I stupidly (in hindsight) looked at this as a pivotal game at the top of the table. It`s 13th versus 17th, with the Whites only three points from the bottom. This just drills in the fact, 100%, that this will not be the season we hoped for. Just in case I hadn`t realised this already.
There is room for optimism, as always. A good end to the season can build the foundations for a more consistent performance in the next, and here we have an opportunity to win consecutive games. It`s been the problem all year; one step forward, two steps back (apologies for the cliché). Overcoming this barrier will ultimately create the willing mentality that the club requires, and we all deeply crave.
Dougie is confident, but all too aware what a new man in charge can do for the club. He told the club website: “Nottingham Forest will represent a difficult test because they`ve got a new manager and when that happens there can sometimes be changes to a team`s line-up. Billy`s been there before so he understands how the crowd works, but I`ve been there as a player, so I know how things work too and I`ve got ideas about how to counteract that.
“I expect there to be a high tempo at the beginning of the game and I expect their crowd to be fully behind them. I know how we`re going to start the game, but we may need to react if Billy makes any late changes to his side. Tactically I will need to be on my toes because I may have to adjust my team, but we`re fully prepared with a ‘plan A` and a ‘plan B` depending on what Nottingham Forest put out.”
Nottingham Forest Team News:
Forest have a fully fit squad, and there`s a fair few quality Championship players in the squad. Which makes it hard to select just one for the below?.
Player to watch: Lewis McGugan
According his Wikipedia page, he was the Primera División Argentina top scorer in 2009 with River Plate. Whilst I don`t think that is in any way correct (especially as he has played for Forest for the entirety of his career), he can be a handful. Dangerous from a set piece, and from open play, as we discovered earlier on in the season:
Bolton Wanderers Team News:
Many of the players who made an appearance in the reserve game against Bury on Monday will be pushing for time on the pitch today. This means Holden, Wheater, Medo, Mills. We look to have quite a few interesting options today.
Player to watch: David Ngog
Arguably the classiest player in the squad. Some of Ngog`s short passing and instinctive play is right up there with the best. If he can just cut out his mistakes, and become more consistent, he will be a star. He deserves top flight football, and let`s hope he gets us there. If he gets the opportunity he deserves after last week, then he will cause the Forest defence havoc.
Match Facts & Stats
We are undefeated against Forest in our last seven appearances. But this must stretch far back – before the game at the start of the season, I honestly cannot remember the last time we played them.
I`m feeling optimistic. A 2-1 win for the Wanderers. Wouldn`t it be nice?
Another trip down to the East Midlands to play Derby on Tuesday, followed by Hull at home on Saturday.