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Calderwood the leader

After three games in eight days, you wonder if Colin Calderwood found time to catch any of the Labour Party Conference last week.

But on Saturday the Forest manager came up with words every bit as rousing as anything Tony Blair or Gordon Brown could muster on their best days.

After 45 minutes against Swansea, with a chorus of boos ringing in his ears, Calderwood was facing a political crisis of his own.

But then 15 minutes after the interval, the roof was ready to come off the City Ground.

When this big red party needed leadership, their manager stepped unopposed to the fore.

Though he would no doubt offer a nod of appreciation to his chief whip, Kris Commons, this was Calderwood's finest moment since taking up the job.

His reaction at the final whistle - crouched down, fists pumping - said as much.

Make no mistake, by half-time the pressure was on the Forest manager.

After initially making the job look easy, in recent weeks the reality has set in.

Top of the table or not, four games without a win before Saturday and staring down the barrel of a second defeat in three home matches is not good.

The Forest crowd made him aware of that - and he came up with a pitch-perfect response.

After such a vote of no-confidence, it was time for a shift in policy.

Even in Forest's difficult run, there has been quality that will surpass most opponents.

But Forest's natural instinct so far has been to err on the side of caution - despite evidence suggesting an offensive approach will bring rewards.

Against Tranmere the previous Saturday, they waited until the final moments to open up and go in search of a goal.

The difference was emphatic as in injury time they created more opportunities than in the previous 90 minutes.

On Tuesday, forced forward by Port Vale's early strike, only bad luck cost them all three points.

And on Saturday, an expansive second-half showing had a previously dominant Swansea side chasing shadows.

Again it was Commons who proved the key - and his return to fitness will tempt Calderwood to unlock the shackles.

While much of Forest's success this season has come on the back of a watertight defence, Swansea looked a far less threatening prospect when under the cosh in the second half.

When stood off, Kenny Jacket's side were given the freedom to spread the play and keep the home side on the back foot.

But that all changed when Commons and Sammy Clingan took control after the break, upping the tempo and, with it, Forest's productivity.

Calderwood insists his team is lined up to attack - but one goal in the previous four matches tells another story.

On Saturday, when the chips were down, he finally threw caution to the wind - bringing with it three goals in under 15 minutes.

It was emphatic evidence that a more adventurous approach can not only bring with it success, but also get a restless public off his back.

There was even time for Calderwood to really get the masses behind him as he introduced the latest product from Forest's youth academy.

Midfielder Robert Hughes was given a cameo the day before his 20th birthday. A goal-scoring middle man, he has starred for the reserves this season and might have even notched a debut strike on Saturday.

Reports the NEP

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer:  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday October 6 2006

Time: 10:32AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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great match. the atmosphere was good and we got 3 points and scored more than 2 goals. what more could we of wished for
Report Abuse
06/10/2006 13:38:00

I am beginning to really like Colin Calderwood and i think he can do a great job for this club.
Report Abuse
06/10/2006 17:17:00


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