Ahead of Wednesday’s clash with Nottingham Forest, we caught up with Vital Forest to get the lowdown on Aitor Karanka’s men.
Forest are ninth in what is currently a tight league. How would you assess your season so far?
Forest finally appear to be moving forwards, but the pressures of now being regarded as big spenders can weigh a little heavy, with a greater level of expectation in some parts. Attendances are up buoyed by this too, but they are very much a work in progress side and most supporters have memories that cover a pretty torrid last few years but at least we can now see some hope and start to look upwards. As you say, it’s a tight league and a few decent results can have you in the top six. Currently, I think most would be happy with ninth at this stage in the season.
What should we expect from you in terms of style on Wednesday, and how have you developed since when we beat you back in May?
Forest typically play a 4-2-3-1 formation, which is arguably better suited to away fixtures because two holding midfielders at home can appear a little negative, but the three offensive midfielders do have a licence to get up in support of the striker – Lewis Grabban, currently our top scorer. Forest have a blend of youth and experience, but we don’t seem to have fared very well in physical encounters this season – although, this is a very different squad and side to that we fielded against you in May. The defeat at home to Norwich will most likely see Aitor Karanka make changes to the starting line up to tighten up defensively, as yet again we conceded from set plays (twice) and still seem susceptible to balls pumped into our box – despite the giant keeper!
Which Forest player should we look out for in particular?
Record signing Joao Carvalho can be a game changer on his day, a very clever and skilful player that plays in the number ten position, but he could well be one of those rested from the game at the weekend. Joe Lolley is another that has been playing well but, like Carvalho, he was withdrawn by Karanka on Saturday – so, both could well find themselves on the bench.
And finally, score prediction.
1-1, we don’t keep many clean sheets.