Date:Tuesday August 21 2007
We are only 1 week into the season and already it seems that the natives are getting restless. Three goalless draws in all competitions and only 2 league points has not made for the greatest start to the season and already it seems that the pressure is building on Forest boss Colin Calderwood. Despite the fact that as I write this article the season is not even two weeks old, possible replacement managers are being discussed on message boards and the jeering has already begun at matches. Now I have not yet had the chance to get to a game for one reason or another but still feel that once again my fellow Forest fans are far too willing to press the panic button. From what I hear, the football has not been bad but there is no end product. At the same time we have not been missing a plethora of chances either suggesting that surprise, surprise, it is the absence of width and creativity that is the problem.
As a certain Mr Grossman used to say, let`s just examine the evidence.
First of all we have the injury situation. Many of the new signings that were made in pre-season and particularly the more attacking players among them have not been available for selection. Only Kelvin Wilson and Neil Lennon of the new signings have been available for all three matches, with Matt Lockwood making one appearance and neither Chris Cohen nor Arron Davies making a single appearance between them. There has been a lot of criticism for the lack of creativity in the side in recent years and this had been addressed by the manager in the shape of the latter two names, only for injury to rob Forest of their collective services for the first month of the season. Add to this the loss of Lewis McGugan and Nathan Tyson, the attacking options available to the manager have been severely limited. Yes, both Junior Agogo and Grant Holt have been involved more recently but it is painfully obvious that both are not fully fit as yet if what I hear is to be believed. I am sure that once the likes of Cohen and Davies are available we will see a different Forest side with a more creative look - the worry is that we might lose substantial ground during their absence.
Some of the blame or our lack of goals should lie firmly on the shoulders of a certain Mr Commons, who after much speculation during the summer, decided to sign a new contract and give it another season in the third tier of English football. My sources have led me to believe that his performances thus far have been average to say the least. As our most gifted player, now is the time for him to shine and justify the hype, even taking into account the pressure put upon him by the lack of creativity from other areas.
Another issue is the apparent lack of striking cover available. It seems unfair to criticize the manager for this, as it has been widely documented that several players have been approached but for one reason or another a deal has not been possible. For example, Leon Best chose Championship side Coventry City over our good selves and to be honest who can really blame him? We are going to struggle when it comes to bringing quality strikers given our league status anyway, but regardless of the level you are playing at, finding quality strikers is nearly as difficult as teaching a dog to speak Norwegian.
Some encouragement should come from the poor starts that Scunthorpe, Blackpool and Bristol City made last year and the fact that we have yet to concede a goal. Looking further up the football ladder, there is no doubt that Manchester United have a wealth of attacking options but have still only managed one goal in their first three matches.
I am not saying that there is not a concern over the number of injuries to key players and the lack of goals scored but we have only played two league matches. Swansea fans have been raving about their own side but the team have only managed one goal and have fewer points than we do. We just need to keep some perspective and remain patient for a few more games and I am sure we will see an improvement. The Leeds game will be my first of the season and hopefully I will be a lucky omen. Of course, don`t quote me on that if we lose 4-0 and Prutts gets a hat-trick. Then again if that happens, I really would be worried!
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