Date:Monday February 19 2007
You have to forgive Kris Commons if he dismisses talk of a crisis at Forest.
Two points off the top of the table is a veritable utopia compared to where the club were this time last year.
It was this week 12 months ago that a 3-0 defeat at Oldham was the final nail in the coffin for Gary Megson, who brought an end to his turbulent tenure as City Ground chief.
Even if this season has not turned out to be the title stroll it promised to be when Forest were seven points clear at the top in November - it is a world away from the woes of last season.
Last Saturday Colin Calderwood's men were booed by sections of their own supporters during a 1-0 win that puts them right on the tails of leaders Oldham and Scunthorpe.
But that is put in perspective when you consider the cacophony of jeers that greeted their limp defeat at Boundary Park 12 months prior - a result that left them just four points above the relegation zone. Commons says the City Ground is unrecognisable compared to then.
And if the players have been feeling the heat after a slump that has seen them win only three of their last ten league games, he says it is nothing compared to the pressure they endured last term.
'When it came to games Gary put a little too much pressure on us to win,' he said.
'We got off to a terrible start and the more games that pass you by without winning, the more pressure you are under. We couldn't play under that pressure, but it all left with him.'
Even if Forest's current slide hardly constitutes a crisis - an alarming run of results has seen them relinquish a golden opportunity to kill off the title race by the turn of the year.
Commons admits the players have been affected by five defeats since December, which have allowed their promotion rivals to not only catch up with, but overtake them. 'The way we've lost has been a big dent to the confidence of the team,' he said. 'Doncaster was the starting point. When a freak goal like that goes in and you lose the game, you're down in the dumps.
'Then we threw away points at Bradford when we should have had that wrapped up.
'The way we've been losing has been heartbreaking and it takes a while to get over that and be confident we can see out 90 minutes of football.'
If defeats to the likes of Leyton Orient and Carlisle have shaken Forest, Commons believes the 4-1 win at Crewe in December had almost as debilitating effect. He says it was a result and performance that raised expectation levels among supporters - and also got the players believing their own hype.
'Crewe gave us far too much respect and time on the ball,' he said. 'It made us look a lot better than we are.
'We are good players and we've shown that this year.
'We were thinking we were a great side and it was a bit of a downfall.
'Teams have now recognised that if they give us time we can play our way round them. But in this league they just want to get in your faces and put you off your game plan.'
Commons says performances like the one at Crewe will be few and far between from now until the end of the season. And even though supporters have been frustrated by disjointed displays in recent weeks - he says they may have to endure much of the same if Forest are to find their way out of League One.
'If you ask any Forest fan who has watched most of our games this year they will tell you the football hasn't been the great stuff they remember from years ago with passing and movement,' he said.
'But this is one of the hardest leagues to play in. It's much harder than the Championship playing-wise.
'But we are winning games and we've got the mentality that our goal is promotion and we will do anything to get there. Even if it means playing negative football - if we're 1-0 up and keeping the ball we will do that.
'We've got to take some bad performances on the chin as long as we get three points.'
Nottingham Evening Post
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