Commons On Strikers
From time to time, Colin Calderwood still has to remind Kris Commons that he doesn't have to win matches all on his own.
But the playmaker admits he only has to look at the wealth of strikers at the City Ground to realise Nottingham Forest have enough firepower to put the fear of god into defenders.
Commons has become very much the focal point of the League One leaders' attack since overcoming an ankle problem that kept him out for the start of the season.
Playing just off a front two, with licence to roam, he has become Forest's main provider of ammunition for the likes of Nathan Tyson, Junior Agogo and Grant Holt.
It is a role he has flourished in after being moved in from his usual wide left position - earning him the League player of the month award for November.
But Commons admits he still needs to be kept in check by his manager every now and then.
'He's always pulling me to one side and saying what I can and can't do in games,' he said. 'It's arm around the shoulder stuff to keep my feet on the ground. I don't have to win games on my own.
'Hopefully I can chip in with goals, but the most important thing is to set up other people if they are in better positions so we can get the points rather than play for my own glory.'
For the Boxing Day victory over Port Vale, Commons played behind Tyson and Agogo in what many consider to be Forest's strongest front trio.
He believes it is an attacking line-up that can get the better of any defence in League One.
'For opposing teams to see me, Junior and Nathan Tyson - if I was looking at it I'd be frightened to death,' he said. 'Pace, power and skill as well. There is a bit of everything.
'If Junior and Tyson are running in behind, defences can either drop deep and give me a bit of space or push up and risk those two running in behind with their pace. They don't know if they are coming or going.
'If they've got that problem every week we are always going to have the chance of coming out on top.
'We've got such good centre forwards here, all six or seven of us are fighting for a position.
'It's exciting, but it's worrying too because you have to play well or you will get dropped. There are so many strikers who can do the job with ease, so if you are not doing the business on the pitch you might not even be on the bench.'
Victory over Vale ensured Forest will go into the final game of 2006 on top of the pile in League One.
But Commons knows that defeats against Bournemouth, Leyton Orient and Doncaster this month have given their promotion rivals the belief that they can be caught in the new year.
And relishing the thrill of the chase last season, he is in no mood to give any incentive to the likes of Scunthorpe or Oldham.
Having experienced Forest's own late bid for promotion last term, he knows exactly what will be going through the minds of those hoping to overtake Calderwood's men.
'We are definitely in touching distance,' he said. 'It is vital that we get as many points as we can over this period and send out the message that we are going to be the champions and everyone else is fighting for second place and the play-off positions.
'We've had a couple of opportunities to extend our lead and we haven't managed to capitalise on that. Hopefully going into the new year we can start putting points on the board that will extend our lead at the top, rather than letting teams stay in touching distance.'
After once holding a seven-point advantage at the top of the table, Forest's lead over Scunthorpe is now down to just two.
If results go against them this weekend, they could start the new year in second place, having led the way for so long this season.
Alternatively they could begin 2007 with 50 points on the board - which Commons believes would be a significant milestone.
'It's a psychological thing,' he said. 'We are getting to the halfway point and if we can get into the 50 points region it will be a great psychological boost.
'We are halfway there and it seems like it's almost downhill to May from there.
'If we can get as many points on the board throughout January, we will definitely smell promotion and kick on.'
Nottingham Evening Post
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