06-05-2013 - Chris Cohen has been voted the Nottingham Forest player of the year by the fans. The 26 year old was presented with award for the second time; his previous triumph came back in 2009.
Cohen has showed his versatility by playing in a couple of positions and has performed admirably in both, whether it’s been at left back or central midfield, Cohen has looked assured and reliable.
In 2011 Cohen sustained a serious knee injury against Derby County which ended his season and even looked set to disrupt the beginning of the current campaign making Cohen’s goal away at Pride Park all the more sweeter, it was one of two occasions he found the net this season.
Cohen has also donned the captain’s armband on occasions in the absence of Danny Collins, something that the player has clearly relished “I’ve really enjoyed playing left back under Billy Davies again and also the responsibility of being captain when Danny has been out of the side.”
Cohen was, as always, very humble when receiving the award “I am very grateful, honoured and lucky to have won this award for the second time” he went onto to mention the frustration of the previous year “Last season was a bit of a non-starter for me due to injury but, thanks to the great medical staff here, I came back at just the right time and I haven’t looked back.”
Billy Davies returned to the City Ground in early February which saw The Reds propel themselves into the play-offs at one stage only to have a Semi-Final place snatched away on the final game of the season. The Reds will enjoy the summer break and come back refreshed for next season with Chris Cohen sure to play a prominent role once more. [Ryan Benjamin]
04-05-2013 - Nottingham Forest narrowly missed out on a play-off place today as they were beaten 3-2 by East Midlands rivals Leicester City at the City Ground. A frantic finale to yet another enthralling nPower Championship season saw The Reds needing to win and hope that Crystal Palace or Bolton dropped points elsewhere. A win for Leicester could have seen The Foxes sneak into the final play-off position.
Despite taking a third minute lead Forest went in at the break 2-1 down thanks to a spirited response from the visitors. Matty James and Andy King scored the goals to send the travelling support into raptures and left the Forest faithful anxiously awaiting the second half.
The good news for both fans is that Bolton were level with Blackpool, The Trotters had found themselves two goals down but went in level at half-time, if the game at The Reebok Stadium stayed as it was one of either Forest or Leicester would definitely have a play-off place.
Forest certainly didn’t waste any time in drawing level, a free-kick that was conceded by former Forest favourite Wes Morgan was headed beyond a hapless Kasper Schmeichel just five minutes into the second half.
The home team were the more assertive during the second period, Henri Lansbury and Adlene Gueudioura linked up nicely to set up Dan Harding whose near post effort was saved by Schmeichel. Leicester also had opportunities to go ahead, the best of which fell to Chris Woods who fluffed his lines when a presentable chance was volleyed tamely wide.
There were little signs of nerves as both teams were clearly going gung-ho for the victory, Andy Reid, Radi Majewski and Simon Cox all went close for The Reds as the home team failed to capitalise on their early dominance.
With time running out Forest threw almost everyone forward but the gamble back fired as they conceded possession deep in Leicester territory, The Foxes countered and when Woods and Anthony Knockaert exchanged passes the Frenchman was left with a simple tap-in to send the travelling fans wild.
The action didn’t end there though as Darius Henderson’s header flashed wide and Schmeichel parried, blocked and kicked his team to a 3-2 win which was enough to take Leicester into the play-offs with the Lancashire derby ending two-a-piece.
Everyone connected with Forest would have been understandably disappointed with the way the game ended but can be pleased that a season that looked set to be heading for mid-table mediocrity or even worse has climaxed with a winner takes all play-off deciding showdown.
Assistant Manager David Kelly echoed these sentiments after the final whistle "We showed real pride in that performance. With 15 games to go, we were in an extremely difficult position in the league so would have taken having a chance going into the final day. "We will work through the summer and hopefully bounce back again."
The final day of nPower Championship season was, as always a tension filled afternoon which ended with Hull City joining champions Cardiff City in the Premier League next season with one of Watford, Brighton & Hove Albion, Crystal Palace and Leicester City joining them next season. The play-off semi-finals will see Forests victors Leicester take on Watford on 9th and the 12th May and Palace will host Brighton on the 10th and the 13th.
The three relegation places where equally as dramatic as the push for the Premier League with Peterborough United succumbing to a last minute winner at the hands of Crystal Palace. The Posh will be joined by Wolverhampton Wanderers in League One, the West Midlands club were tipped to return to the Premier League by some but instead have the indignity of being the first club to suffer back-to-back relegations from the Premier League.
Even more galling for Wolves manager and former Forest player Dean Saunders is that his former club Doncaster Rovers will be plying their trade in the Championship as they won the League One title last weekend.
Other Forest old boy will be taking his team into league One as Sean O’Driscoll’s Bristol City ended the season bottom, some 14 points from safety, as fate would have it, O’Driscoll has also managed Doncaster Rovers.
As for Forest, the return of Billy Davies has proved to be a master-stoke, the Scot has taken a beleaguered team from mid-table to within a point of the play-off places in 15 games. With the right acquisitions in the summer The Reds could be in a position to cement a place in the top six and bring back some end of season joy next time round. [Ryan Benjamin]
03-05-2013 - Nottingham Forest entertain East Midlands rivals Leicester City on Saturday lunchtime on the final day of the npower Championship season. The game is vital for both sides’ hopes of breaking into the play-offs.
Two play-off spots are still up for grabs. With one game left, Forest trail 6th-placed Bolton Wanderers on goal difference, and Crystal Palace, who are 5th, by two points. Saturday’s opponents Leicester trail Forest by two points, and absolutely must beat the Reds to have any opportunity to get in. Depending on other results, a draw could be enough for Forest, but realistically, they also have to win for a play-off place.
Bolton face Blackpool at the Reebok Stadium, and a victory all-but assures their progression to the postseason. Their superior goal difference means that if Bolton win, Forest would have to beat Leicester by four more goals than Bolton beat Blackpool by for the Reds to overtake Dougie Freedman’s side.
It is not impossible, but of course highly unlikely, that there could be a one-game play-off between Forest and Bolton to decide a play-off place. Should Bolton win 1-0 and Forest 7-3, the two sides would have equal points, goal difference and goals scored. Furthermore, their two meetings were both draws.
Crystal Palace are playing host to Peterborough United, who are just as desperate for the points in order to avoid relegation. Palace have hit the skids at just the wrong time, and they were unable to secure their play-off place on Tuesday night with only a goalless draw at Millwall. They should get in with a point, but a defeat would see them miss out if Bolton and Forest both win.
Forest kept their season alive last Saturday with a 1-0 win against Millwall. Greg Halford’s header gave the Reds a crucial win at the New Den. Halford’s goal was Forest’s first in the first 15 minutes of a league game all season, and gave Billy Davies’ side their first win in six games.
Saturday’s game at the City Ground is a sell out, and fans have been asked not to travel without a ticket. Leicester’s allocation is just 2,000 tickets, but there have been rumours that some Foxes fans have acquired tickets in the home sections of the ground. The allocation is considerably less than the 8,000-strong support they brought to Nottingham for the FA Cup tie last season, which ended goalless, and the 4,000 fans who saw their side draw 2-2 in the two sides’ last league meeting Trentside in August 2011.
Chris Cohen may be back in the reckoning after his thigh injury, and boss Davies can also recall Darius Henderson to the squad following his three-game suspension after his red card at Cardiff City, but there are no new concerns for Forest to deal with. Former Reds and current Leicester captain Wes Morgan is set to make his first City Ground appearance against Forest since his move to the King Power Stadium in January 2012. Despite moving to East Midlands rivals, Morgan is sure to receive a warm reception from the home fans, for whom he played over 400 times in his career.
26-04-2013 - Nottingham Forest head to the New Den on Saturday for their final away game of the npower Championship season, to play a must-win game against Millwall.
With two games left of the season, Forest are in 8th place in the table, trailing Bolton, who sit in the last play-off place, by two points, and Leicester by one at the time of writing. Anything less than three points in south London could spell the end of Forest’s hopes of promotion to the Premier League.
The Reds’ disappointing recent run of form – six games without a win and three games without a goal – has meant that they are relying on their rivals’ opponents to do them a favour. On Saturday they will be counting on champions Cardiff City remaining professional until the end of the season and beating Bolton. Watford head to the King Power Stadium on Friday night just as desperate for the points in order to keep their own faint hopes of automatic promotion alive.
Forest did everything but score last Saturday at home to Barnsley. A frustrating afternoon saw Billy Davies’ side hit the woodwork four times and force a number of decent saves out of Tykes keeper Luke Steele as the visitors held out for what could be a priceless point in their battle to avoid relegation. The goalless draw has left Forest needing snookers in the promotion race but they will be confident that if they keep conjuring up as many chances they can still force their way back into the play-offs.
Gonzalo Jara Reyes’ injury means that his loan spell from West Bromwich Albion has been cut short. Sam Hutchinson is also likely to miss the game through injury, which means that Greg Halford is likely to deputise at right back. Apart from that, there are no new injuries for Davies to worry about. Darius Henderson’s suspension means that he will miss the game against his former club, for whom he scored in the Lions’ 4-1 victory at the City Ground in November before his transfer to the Reds.
A run of one win in the last six games has meant that Kenny Jackett’s team are not yet safe from relegation. They lead the bottom three by four points, which means that one more win will be enough from their remaining three games to survive. Their position is due in part to their poor record at the New Den this season, where they have lost a league-high ten home games this season. Their recent record at home to Forest is more encouraging however, having remained unbeaten in the last six meetings there stretching back to 2002. They lead the all-time record with 22 wins in all competitions, to Forest’s 18. [Adam Gray]
19-04-2013 - Nottingham Forest will look to get their npower Championship promotion push back on track on Saturday afternoon when Barnsley are the visitors to the City Ground.
After enjoying a run of six successive wins, which helped boss Billy Davies scoop the latest Manager of the Month award, the Reds are stuttering over the line in the race for the top six, having gone winless in their last five games. Tuesday night saw Forest lose their second match in four days, going down 1-0 to Middlesbrough, who kept their own faint play-off hopes alive with a goal from Mustapha Carayol.
The result leaves Forest in eighth place in the table, level on points with Bolton Wanderers, and trailing Leicester City, who currently occupy the final play-off place by one point. Bolton host Middlesbrough on Saturday, and Leicester head to Selhurst Park to face a Crystal Palace side who are also fighting to remain in the promotion shake-up after a poor recent run of results.
Darius Henderson continues to serve his suspension following his red card at Cardiff, but Forest have no new injury concerns for the visit of the men from south Yorkshire.
Barnsley, managed by David Flitcroft, are involved in an intense fight against relegation which still involves the entire bottom half of the Championship, even with three games to go. Not even Charlton Athletic are yet mathematically safe from the drop, despite being 9th in the league and still pushing for a play-off place themselves. The Tykes sit second bottom on 50 points, but are just a point off safety.
They had looked like getting themselves out of trouble, before a run of one win from the last six games has dropped them back into the bottom three. Very respectable away points against Crystal Palace and Cardiff City were followed by an embarrassing 6-0 home reverse by Charlton last Saturday before they got a late point at Oakwell against Derby County on Tuesday night.
Barnsley were beaten 4-1 by Forest earlier in the season, Greg Halford, Chris Cohen, Simon Cox and Jermaine Jenas responded after falling behind to a goal from former Reds favourite Marlon Harewood. Barnsley’s last visit to the City Ground was on the opening day of last season, when the two sides played out a goalless draw. [Adam Gray]
15-04-2013 - Nottingham Forest will look to bounce back from last Saturday’s defeat at Cardiff with a positive performance at the Riverside Stadium, where they take on Middlesbrough in the npower Championship on Tuesday night.
Forest suffered their first loss since manager Billy Davies returned to the club in February at the Cardiff City Stadium. Heidar Helguson and two from Rudi Gestede earned the Bluebirds an easy 3-0 victory. Forest also had six players booked and Darius Henderson saw red for what the referee deemed to be a use of his elbow, on what was a miserable afternoon for the Reds.
The win, paired with Watford losing 3-2 at Peterborough United, means that Malky Mackay’s team need just one more point from the remaining four games of the season to secure promotion to the Premier League. In the meantime, Forest fell out of the play-off places on goal difference after Bolton Wanderers beat Bristol City 2-1 to continue their incredible second half of the season under Dougie Freedman.
Henderson will be suspended for the next three games following his dismissal on Saturday, but boss Davies will be able to call on Simon Cox to deputise. Cox missed the trip to south Wales for fear of him picking up a 10th booking of the season which would have resulted in a two-game ban. Any yellow cards have now been wiped clean following the league’s amnesty, and Cox is free to continue in the side without worrying about further cautions.
Tuesday night’s opponents Middlesbrough still have faint play-off hopes, with an eight point gap between themselves and the top six, but in order to make the play-offs, they have to improve a dreadful run of results. Tony Mowbray’s team were in contention for promotion in the first half of the season, before a run which has seen them lose 13 of their last 17 games. In fact had the season started on New Year’s Day, Boro would be bottom of the league. Saturday saw them go down 2-0 at home to Brighton and Hove Albion, who continue their own push for promotion.
Forest were beaten 2-1 on their visit to the Riverside last February. Mrvin Emnes and Lukas Jutkiewicz got the goals for the home side. It’s been all change of course since then; in fact only two of Forest’s starting XI on that night are still at the club, Guy Moussi and Adlene Guedioura. [Adam Gray]
13-04-2013 - Nottingham Forest put their unbeaten record to the ultimate test on Saturday when they head to south Wales to face npower Championship leaders Cardiff City.
Forest may be yet to taste defeat under returning boss Billy Davies, although they have drawn their last three games. Last Saturday saw the Reds salvage a draw at home to Blackpool following a below-par performance. Ludovic Sylvestre put the Seasiders in front with a cool finish from the edge of the penalty area, before Lewis McGugan extended his remarkable scoring run from the penalty spot to earn a point. The midfielder has now found the net in six consecutive appearances. Davies has no new injury concerns ahead of the game.
League leaders Cardiff have stuttered of late, winning just three of their last ten Championship matches. Despite their poor run they remain top of the table, with none of the chasing pack able to close the gap at the top. Malky Mackay’s side lead Hull by six points, and Watford by nine. With five games left of the league season, the Welsh side require only seven more points to secure promotion to the Premier League. Their excellent season has been in no small part due to their home form. They have lost just twice at the Cardiff City Stadium this season. Their change to red shirts may have been controversial, but it has brought them the good luck the Malaysian owners hoped for.
Forest lost on their last trip to Cardiff in November 2011, the home side ran out 1-0 winners courtesy of a goal from Joe Mason. The Bluebirds looked anything but top of the league during their trip to the City Ground this season, when Forest bested them 3-1 in October. Andy Reid, Daniel Ayala and Billy Sharp put the Reds on the way to one of their most impressive wins of the season. The win closed the gap in the all-time record to 14 wins to Cardiff’s 21. [Adam Gray]
07-04-2013 - Nottingham Forest rescued a point against ten-man Blackpool on Saturday courtesy of a late Lewis McGugan penalty. The visitors took the lead thanks to a precise strike from midfielder Ludovic Sylvestre after 27 minutes. Forest would have felt some-what deflated after dominating possession but failing to carve out any clear chances.
Forest continued to press in the second half, Elliott Ward headed over from a corner and Chris Cohen had an effort comfortably saved by Blackpool ‘keeper Matt Gilks.
Just before the hour mark former Forest loanee Isaiah Osbourne was given a straight red for a poorly timed challenge on Greg Halford. Osbourne is the sixth player to see red against Forest in the last ten games.
The flow of the game wasn’t affected by the dismissal; the home team had been the better side before the incident and continued to dominate afterwards. Lewis McGugans introduction gave the home team a cutting edge, the midfielder went on to pepper Gilks goal and a sweetly struck volley being the most dangerous of his three attempts.
With ten minutes remaining Simon Cox’s effort was brilliantly kept out by Gilks who would be forgiven for thinking he’d done enough to earn his team a point.
However, seconds later Cox was brought down in the box after a crude challenge from midfielder Chris Basham. McGugan clearly felt he had a point to prove as he raced to retrieve the ball for the penalty.
The in-form midfielder dispatched the penalty in-front of the Trent End for his sixth goal in six games, despite the seven minutes of stoppage time the hosts failed to create another chance as the game ended 1-1.
The point was arguably more beneficial for fifth place Forest as it keeps East Midlands rivals Leicester at arm’s length thanks to a three point cushion, Blackpool sit 17th in npower Championship just four points above the drop-zone. [Ryan Benjamin]
05-04-2013 - Nottingham Forest continue their push for an npower Championship play-off place on Saturday afternoon as they take on Blackpool at the City Ground.
Billy Davies remains unbeaten in his second spell as Reds boss following the two Easter fixtures, but only just, as Forest benefited from stoppage-time equalisers in both games.
Last Saturday’s visit of Brighton saw three goals in the last ten minutes as the sides shared a 2-2 draw. Lewis McGugan’s leveller with eight minutes to go looked to seal a draw only for Will Buckley to put the Seagulls back in front and seemingly on course to record a vital three points. Henri Lansbury had other ideas though, and his 91st minute shot was allowed through goalkeeper Casper Ankergren’s legs and into the net.
Forest left it even later at Turf Moor on Easter Monday. Burnley had taken a second-half lead through Junior Stanislas’ close range finish, and looked very likely to end the Reds’ undefeated run, only for the referee to award a penalty converted by McGugan in the seventh minute of time added on. The midfielder has now scored in each of his last five appearances, four of which as a substitute.
The two draws leave Forest in fifth place in the Championship table with six games to go. Their cushion over seventh placed Leicester City is three points, but with the Foxes’ struggling for form and questions remaining over the future of Nigel Pearson, Forest remain firm favourites to hold their position. Furthermore, Leicester face the team sandwiching themselves and Forest, Brighton and Hove Albion, this Saturday.
Blackpool are one of as many as 14 teams still involved in the fight against relegation. They may be 16th in the table, but lead the bottom three by just three points. Their cause has been helped by a run of just one defeat in their last seven league games. Boss Paul Ince this week slapped an incredible £25million price tag on his star-player son Thomas, who has been a long time transfer target for Premier League sides, and was thought to have finalised a move to Liverpool in the January transfer window. Ince junior has scored 18 league goals this season, and is obviously a player that Forest need to keep quiet.
This season’s first meeting at Bloomfield Road was a 2-2 draw in October, another game in which Forest salvaged a last-minute point. Dexter Blackstock’s goal giving Forest a share of the spoils. The previous City Ground game came last April and was a goalless draw. Despite a relatively poor recent run against the Seasiders, which of course brought a play-off defeat in 2010, Forest still lead the all-time record, with 29 wins to 26. [Adam Gray]
29-03-2013 - Nottingham Forest return to action following the International break with two npower Championship games in three days this Easter weekend. On Easter Monday Billy Davies’ side heads to Turf Moor to take on Burnley, but before that they entertain Brighton and Hove Albion at the City Ground in a key game for both sides’ play-off aspirations.
Prior to the International break Forest won their sixth successive league game with a 2-1 victory at promotion-chasing Hull City. The Reds fell behind to a George Boyd goal in the first half. Boyd wasted no time in reminding the travelling supporters what could have been with his glasses celebration, a reference to the failed medical at Forest at the end of the January transfer window. But it was the visitors who would have the last laugh, as Darius Henderson and Lewis McGugan got the goals to turn the game around and give the Reds three crucial points in arguably their toughest test yet under Billy Davies.
Henri Lansbury picked up shin and calf injuries while in action for the England Under-21s and is a doubt for Saturday’s game. McGugan, who has scored in his last three appearances as a substitute, is first in line to deputise, and few would deny he has earned the opportunity to return to the starting lineup. There are no other injury concerns amongst the players who played for their countries, although Gonzalo Jara Reyes was in the wars, having seemingly been punched by Liverpool striker Luis Suarez in an off-the-ball incident during Chile’s World Cup qualifier with Uruguay, an incident for which Suarez may face further repercussions.
Brighton are a point behind Forest heading into Saturday’s game, although they are currently trying to turn round a blip in form which saw them fail to win three league games in a row before their last outing, a 3-0 win at the Amex Stadium against their bitter rivals Crystal Palace. Gus Poyet also boosted his side and lifted their fans by deciding to stay on the south coast, following an approach from Premier League side Reading, who instead appointed former Southampton manager Nigel Adkins to replace Brian McDermott. Forest got a creditable point from their trip south in December, earning a goalless draw.
Following Saturday’s game, Forest head to Turf Moor to face Sean Dyche’s side, who at the time of writing are 11th in the table following their 3-3 draw at Watford on Good Friday. Their last-minute equaliser cut the gap to the play-off places to nine points with eight games to play. It’s unlikely that they will close the gap, but their confidence should be high following a creditable result against one of the top sides in the division. Forest were 2-0 winners over the Clarets in the City Ground meeting in December, but their last three visits to Burnley have seen defeats, with Forest conceding five goals in two of those encounters. [Adam Gray]
15-03-2013 - Nottingham Forest face the biggest test of their promotion credentials when they head north to face Hull City in the npower Championship.
The Reds have won five straight games to break into the top six, and following the results in midweek, they are now in control of their own destiny with nine games to go. Last week’s 3-1 win against Wolverhampton Wanderers took Forest’s points total under Billy Davies to 16 from a possible 18. The game at the KC Stadium is an all-ticket affair, as 3,000 fans are set to make the trip to Yorkshire to see their team go for a sixth win in succession.
Billy Sharp and Darius Henderson will be available for selection following their absences due to injury, which comes at a handy time following a doubt over Dexter Blackstock’s fitness. The striker was taken off in the first half of the win versus Wolves with a hamstring strain.
Hull are pushing for an automatic promotion spot under the guidance of manager Steve Bruce. The Tigers currently second place, two points clear of Watford, and four behind long-time leaders Cardiff City, having played a game more. They have won six of the last nine games to move into the automatic promotion reckoning, most recently winning at Burnley on Monday night in the live Sky Sports game. Stephen Quinn’s second half strike was enough for a 1-0 win, which keeps the pressure on the chasing pack and Cardiff, who are now looking over their shoulders.
If Forest are to leave with a result, they are going to have to break a recent poor run against their opponents. Since Hull’s relegation in 2010, the two sides have played five times, with Hull winning four of them. Last season’s meeting at the KC Stadium and this season’s City Ground encounter both finished 2-1 to Hull. Despite their recent domination of the fixture, Forest still lead the head-to-head standings, with 27 all-time wins to 24. [Adam Gray]
09-13-2013 - Nottingham Forest play their second home game in a week this Saturday afternoon, when they host Wolverhampton Wanderers in the npower Championship.
The Reds will be looking to continue their excellent winning run, which continued on Tuesday night at home to Ipswich Town. Lewis McGugan’s deflected strike from just outside the box handed Forest a 1-0 victory against a Tractor Boys side which had been reduced to nine men following Lee Martin and Richard Stearman’s dismissals.. The three points extends Forest’s run of wins to four games, and they are five unbeaten under boss Billy Davies since his return.
Davies has no new injury concerns although Billy Sharp (chest infection) and Darius Henderson (knee) are still some time away from returns to first team action. He is boosted by Greg Halford’s return from a two-game suspension following his ten yellow cards this season.
Radi Majewski’s terrific form of late has seen him recalled to the Poland squad for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Ukraine and San Marino. He last represented his country in 2010. Adlene Guedioura (Algeria), Simon Cox (Republic of Ireland) and Gonzalo Jara Reyes (Chile) will also join up with their countries during the international break next week.
Wolves boss Dean Saunders earned his first win on Tuesday on his tenth attempt, with an excellent 2-0 victory at Millwall. That was their first victory since the 21 December. Prior to the win at the New Den, they held promotion-chasing Watford to a 1-1 draw at Molineux last Friday. Their upturn in fortunes is timely, given their desperate struggle for form which saw them drop into the bottom three only to climb out following the win in South London. They are far from out of the woods yet, as they look to avoid what is an unthinkable second successive relegation.
Forest were victorious at Molineux in the last meeting in November, Guedioura’s winner against his former club gave the Reds a 2-1 win. Forest’s last home success against Wolves came in October 2004, when Andy Reid scored the only goal of the game. [Adam Gray]
08-03-2013 - Nottingham Forest will be looking to secure a fifth consecutive win as they take on a beleaguered Wolverhampton Wanderers at the City Ground on Saturday.
The Reds have seen their season transformed since the return of Billy Davies; the Scot has overseen four wins and a draw which has put Forest to within touching distance of the play-offs.
Wins over Huddersfield Town, Charlton Athletic, Sheffield Wednesday and most recently Ipswich Town have resulted in Forest moving to within two points of sixth place Brighton and has seen the club concede just once in the last four outings.
One player who is clearly benefiting from the teams new found sense of purpose is Radi Majewski. The Polish midfielder has scored five goals in the last four games, including a sensational first half hat-trick against Huddersfield.
Despite the club’s recent run Billy Davies was dismissive of the form guide ahead of hosting relegation threatened Wolves. The manager insisted that the correct preparation and the right mentality are important for his team.
“I don’t buy into form, runs or favourites – this is all about preparing correctly and treating our opponents with respect ahead of what will be another tough match” he explained.
Davies described the team’s performance against Ipswich as “leggy” as Forest ground out a 1-0 win. Davies is keen not to change his winning team to much however for Saturdays game “Rotation was certainly an option for us on Tuesday after Saturday’s late kick-off on a heavy pitch at Hillsborough, but I think it’s different this weekend.”
Forest do have injury concerns surrounding a few key players, top scorer Billy Sharp continues his absence due to a chest infection, whilst fellow centre forward Darius Henderson will be absent due to a knee problem.
Daniel Ayala is said to be seven-to-ten days away from a return. However Dan Harding and ‘keeper Khaled Al Rashidi have progressed well and could be in contention for a place in Saturdays squad.
Since being relegated from the Premier League the West Midlands club has found life in the Championship extremely tough. The threat of being the first team in English football to suffer back-to-back relegations is a very real possibility.
Despite winning away at Millwall on Tuesday, Wolves still sit just a point clear of the relegation zone, the mid-week win was their first in fifteen matches.
Since the departure of Stale Solbakken in January, the club have looked to former Forest player Dean Saunders to re-kindle their ailing season.
Saunders spoke of his relief after the long awaited victory at The Den and wants his team to gain some momentum from the result, he said “The result has been coming; our performances have been good and deserving of a win”.
With Wolves just a point ahead of 22nd place Barnsley Saunders is all too aware that the club need to gain momentum to haul themselves away from trouble. “We need four or five wins I think” he explained “If we think we’ve cracked it we will be right back to square one, so I’ve got to emphasis to the players that one win is just the start”.
Forest will need to be wary of Wolves’ top scorer Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, the front man has netted 12 times this season including a spectacular over-head kick against Millwall.
Saunders will be looking to make the most of his squad’s depth for the remainder of the season. The likes of Stephen Ward and Dave Edwards were recalled for the Millwall game and Icelandic front man Bjorn Siguardsson could well be in contention for a starting place after being rested last time round.
When the two teams met at Molineux in November Forest ran out 2-1 winners with goals from Billy Sharp and Adlene Guedioura. That victory for The Reds is a rare positive in what has generally been a poor run of form against tomorrow’s visitors.
Forest have won just two of the past 14 games against Wolves in all competitions and have only come away with three points once in the past seven meetings at the City Ground. Wolves also edge the overall encounters winning 56 to Forests’ 41. [Ryan Benjamin]
04-03-2013 - Nottingham Forest entertain Ipswich Town on Tuesday night in the npower Championship, as they look to continue their excellent recent run of form. The visit of the Tractor Boys is the first of two home games this week for Forest, as they look to maintain the results which may push them into the top six.
Billy Davies’s side were 1-0 winners at Hillsborough on Saturday evening, with Radi Majewski’s first-half goal enough to hand Sheffield Wednesday their first league defeat since New Year’s Day. The win means that Forest have won three games in a row for the first time this season, and it took Davies’ return to ten points from a possible twelve. The Reds now sit in 8th place in the table, and just four points off the play-off positions.
Greg Halford will serve the second and final game of his suspension on Tuesday night. Danny Collins started in Halford’s place on Saturday, although he was taken off with blurred vision. Should he miss the game, Jamaal Lascelles, who appeared off the bench against Sheffield Wednesday, will be in line for a start.
Ipswich beat Leicester 1-0 on Saturday, for their first win of the year. The goal was scored by David McGoldrick, the striker on loan from Forest. McGoldrick is ineligible to face his parent club on Tuesday night, but one former Reds player who should feature is Luke Chambers. The defender made 229 appearances in six seasons at the City Ground before his move to Portman Road last summer on a free transfer.
Tuesday night’s game will be his first at the City Ground since his move.
The two teams’ previous meeting this season in November saw Mick McCarthy’s side run out 3-1 winners at Portman Road. Dexter Blackstock had equalised following Guirane N’Daw’s opener, but second-half goals from Luke Hyam and Daryl Murphy gave Ipswich the three points. [Adam Gray]
02-03-2013 - Nottingham Forest beat Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 at Hillsborough today thanks to a close range strike from Radi Majewski, extending their winning streak to 3 games.
Forest were the better team during the opening period, looking more assured in possession than their Yorkshire hosts and dangerous going forward.
A brilliant Forest move involving Andy Reid and Simon Cox led to Majewski calmly finishing after twenty-seven minutes. The Polish midfielder had the simple task to score from 6 yards after Reid and Cox had both jinked passed two defenders during the build-up.
Chris Kirkland was called into action again just 2 minutes later as he smothered Blackstock’s effort on twenty-nine minutes after an excellent cross from the left by Chris Cohen
Sheffield Wednesday struggled to make any sort of positive impact on the game as Danny Pugh’s speculative thirty yard volley rolled out for a throw-in, this summed up the home team’s first half display. The visitors led 1-0 at the break after dominating the first half.
Jermaine Johnson replaced an ineffective Connor Wickham and immediately sparked some life into a drab Wednesday performance with two blistering runs down the left wing.
Michail Antonio had a half-chance for The Owls, firing a left-footed shot over from the edge of the area on sixty-three minutes; it was arguably the best chance his team had created. Leroy Lita forced a save from a largely untroubled Darlow with ten minutes remaining.
Despite mounting pressure from the home team they failed to make any clear chances. The Forest defence withstood a flurry of crosses in injury-time to record a third straight league win and move to within 4 points of the play-off places. The Reds next match is against Ipswich Town this Tuesday night.
Sheffield Wednesday lose their proud unbeaten record, succumbing to a defeat for the first time in 8 games and leaves them just 4 points above the relegation zone. [Ryan Benjamin]
02-03-2013 - Nottingham Forest will look to make it 3 wins in a row as they make the short trip to Hillsborough to take on an improving Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday evening (Kick of 17:20, Sky Sports 2).
Billy Davies has seen an up-turn in fortunes at the City Ground since replacing Alex McLeish three weeks ago. Davies has enjoyed an unbeaten start to his second spell at the club and will be looking to build on recent victories against Charlton Athletic and Huddersfield Town.
Forest’s recent run of form combined with a new found optimism amongst players and fans a-like has made a play-off place all the more attainable for The Reds. The run of form has coincided with some unfavourable results for 7th place Middlesbrough who sit directly above Forest and just 3 points better off. With the Teesside club facing a stern test against league leaders Cardiff City, a win could potentially move Forest level on points with The ‘Boro.
One man who will be on the radar for the hosts is Forest’s leading scorer and self-confessed Sheffield United fan Billy Sharp. The strikers form dipped under Alex McLeish but he still remains the clubs leading scorer with eleven for the season.
Forest have been finding goals easy to come by in recent weeks scoring 8 in the last 3 games. The Reds have also not lost a league game in which they’ve opened the scoring this season.
Sheffield Wednesday are arguably one of the form teams in the npower Championship at the moment despite their lowly league position. The South Yorkshire club are unbeaten in their last 7 outings and have only lost once in twelve league games.
The Owls had until recently been found wanting in-front of goal but the acquisition of Leroy Lita has given Wednesday the cutting edge they will need to survive this season. The former Reading man has scored 4 goals in his last 5 league games.
Forest have enjoyed a healthy recent record against Wednesday, winning 4 and drawing 1 of the previous 5 meetings. The last time the teams met at Hillsborough was September 2009 when Dexter Blackstock opened the scoring for The Reds only for Marcus Tudgay to equalise for the home team. [Ryan Benjamin]
22-02-2013 - Nottingham Forest will look to capitalise on the momentum of their mid-week demolition of Huddersfield Town as they take on Charlton Athletic at The Valley.
Forest have enjoyed a positive start to yet another new era at the club. Billy Davies has overseen a draw and a win at the City Ground in his first two games since re-joining the team he left in 2011.
An away fixture at Charlton will provide a new test for the manager as he will surely look to improve upon Forest’s away form which has seen them pick up just two wins on the road this season.
The manager has spoken about the difficulty his team will face on Saturday if they enter the game with the wrong mentality. “It’s a very difficult away game and, as always, we will approach it as professionally as we can in an attempt to get the best out of our own squad”.
Davies also noted the competitiveness and unpredictability of the npower Championship, which saw Charlton beat high flying Leicester City at the King Power Stadium.
“Charlton’s victory at Leicester on Tuesday is a perfect example of why we must treat every team in this division with the utmost respect.”
Charlton have moved up to 13 in the table thanks to the unlikely win at Leicester, the result has put the South Londoners just two points behind tomorrows visitors.
With just one win at home in the last seven games manager Chris Powell will be looking for an up-turn in fortunes for last season’s League One Champions .
If Charlton are going to capitalise on Tuesday’s victory, a lot will rest on the form of top scorer Yann Kermogant. The French forward has netted 8 times in twenty-two outings for The Addicks this season.
Despite struggling for the first half of the season, Kermogant has scored five in his last eight npower Championship games and will be looking to extend his good goal scoring form against Forest.
The last time The Reds visited The Valley was January 2009, goals from Nathan Tyson and Rob Earnshaw gave the away team a 2-0 victory. Come the end of the season Forest retained their Championship status finishing 19th whilst Charlton were relegated to League One. [Ryan Benjamin]
20-02-2013 - Nottingham Forest manager Billy Davies was understandably buoyant after recording his first win against Huddersfield Town at the City Ground. The Scot is in his second spell at the club and couldn’t have been more enthused with the start he and the team have made.
Davies looked on as his rampant Forest side won 6-1 thanks to a first half hat-trick from Radi Majewski and goals form Henri Lansbury, Elliott Ward and Darius Henderson.
The Reds started slowly but Davies was pleased with the attitude his team showed to get back into, then dominate the match “It was an absolutely excellent performance after a slack start. I was really disappointed to lose the goal early on but I thought our response was magnificent.” he said.
Davies also mentioned the contribution made by Majewski but was careful not to over-look the team’s performance “We can mention Radi, and we are thankful for his three goals, but we can’t forget the effort, attitude and work rate of people like Simon Cox and Dexter Blackstock – they all deserve recognition.” he explained.
Just under 27,000 fans packed themselves into the City Ground which was one of this seasons highest attendances in the npower Championship. The support of the fans is something that Davies noted after the game “The energy and attitude of the fans was excellent. On behalf of the staff and players I’d like to say ‘thank you’”.
During his first spell at the club Davies’s team was renowned for being hard to break down as well as their long unbeaten sequences. With 13 games remaining of the current season Forest fans will be forgiven for thinking that an upturn in form and results could yield a play-off place. [Ryan Benjamin]
19-02-2013 - Billy Davies recorded his first win since his return to the City Ground tonight as his new team romped to a 6-1 win against Huddersfield Town.
A sensational performance by Radi Majewski was the catalyst for a superb win for Forest. Huddersfield took the lead through on loan striker James Vaughn just ten minutes into the game. But the home team hit back thanks to a hat-trick from Majewski and a header from centre back Elliott Ward.
Huddersfield were left reeling after a great start and would have been looking to impose their game on the hosts at the beginning of the second half. Unfortunately for The Terriers Henri Lansbury settled the game on 55 minutes with a composed left footed finish.
A comfortable evening’s work was rounded off with Darius Henderson’s first goal for his new club, the former Millwall man produced an aerial finish that has become his trademark in the npower Championship.
The win moves Forest up to eighth in the table, six points behind Middlesbrough who occupy the final play-off position. Forest have back-to-back away games coming up starting with a trip to South East London to face Charlton Athletic at The Valley.
When the two teams met earlier in the season The Reds won 2-1 with goals from Lewis McGugan and Sam Hutchinson. [Ryan Benjamin]
10-02-2013 - Nottingham Forest continued their poor run of form as they succumbed to another defeat at Bristol City. The architect of which was a certain Sean O’Driscoll who was sacked by Forest just seven games previously.
O’Driscolls new team ran out 2-0 winners courtesy of second half goals from Steven Davies and Marvin Elliott. It was a much needed win for the hosts who are now three points from safety and will face the unenviable task of visiting npower Championship leaders Cardiff City next weekend.
With new Reds manager Billy Davies not taking charge until Monday it was up to caretaker manager Rob Kelly to see Forest through the clash at Ashton Gate.
Kelly would have been pleased with the start that his team made. Forest played with a high tempo but Dexter Blackstock passed up opportunities to put the visitors ahead as he hit the post from close range and failed to hit the target when played in by Radi Majewski. As did Billy Sharp when a long ball caused confusion in hosts defence but the on loan front man failed to capitalise.
Just after half-time Bristol City took the lead through a deflected strike from Davies, it was the strikers 9th goal of the season. Just after the hour Forest conceded again as Stephen Pearson’s free-kick found the head of Elliott who planted a header past Karl Darlow in the visitors net.
The defeat leaves Forest thirteenth in the table with just one win from eight games; they have also lost three consecutive matches for the first time this season. The Reds face Bolton Wanderers at the City Ground next week.
Despite their win against Burnley yesterday the Lancashire club are struggling since their return to the second tier of English football and will be looking to make up some ground on the teams above them. [Ryan Benjamin]
07-02-2013 - Nottingham Forest have today announced that former manager Billy Davies will be returning to the club after he was sacked nearly two years ago. Davies has described his return as “A dream come true”.
Davies presided over a successful period at Forest during his first spell at the club where he took over from Colin Calderwood, with the team struggling towards the bottom of the npower Championship.
After stabilising the team and avoiding an automatic return to League One, Davies set about imposing an attractive style of play that brought results as well as plaudits. Under his stewardship Forest embarked on a 20 match unbeaten run, including 12 league wins at home, which is a club record.
This run of form saw Forest cement a place in the play-offs as well as securing Davies a nomination for manager of the month award in October. Unfortunately for Davies and Forest their poor record in play-off games continued as they lost to eventual promotion winners Blackpool.
Forest reached the play-offs again the following season but; as they did the year before; lost, this time to Swansea City who went on to establish themselves in the Premier League. Following the end of Forests campaign Davies was sacked by the club, an apparent lack of transfer funds was seen as a divisive issue between the manager and board.
After a succession of managers were hired and then subsequently fired in the four months since the Al Hasawi family took over at the City Ground, the club are looking for some much needed stability and the Chairman is making all of the right noises again after the latest appointment.
Fawaz Al Hasawi noted Davies’s previous time in charge at the club in a statement released today “Billy has unfinished business with The Reds and we know how hungry he is for success. In returning to The City Ground we believe his leadership will help us fulfil our ambition of making it to the Premier League”.
Davies himself will return on a three-and-a-half year deal with his back room staff being comprised of first team coaches David Kelly and Julian Darby. Kelly will be assistant manager to Davies. Pete Williams will also be back on the training ground as goalkeeping coach.
The new manager is clearly hungry to pick up from where he left off, “It is a privilege and an honour to be back in charge of the Reds” Davies continued by saying “My tenure at the City Ground was cut short last time and I can’t wait to get my boots back on and training the lads. We have a great squad and I know I can get the best from them. Coming home to The Reds is a dream come true”. [Ryan Benjamin]
05-02-2013 - Nottingham Forest have announced that they have parted company with Alex McLeish after just 40 days in charge at the City Ground.
There had been rumours circulating that McLeish was heading for the exit after a deal to sign Peterborough forward, George Boyd, collapsed after the quality of the players eyesight had been controversially disputed by Forest. McLeish was eager for the move to be finalised but it was the clubs hierarchy who decided against it.
The Kuwaiti owners are now in pursuit of a fourth manager since taking charge at the club just six months ago. Steve Cotterill was sacked by the new owners in July within days of the clubs take-over being complete. After promising the fans a stellar name and being linked with the likes of Glenn Hoddle, Harry Redknapp and Roy Keane, it was former Doncaster manager, Sean O’Driscoll, who was handed the reins of power.
After a steady start to the league campaign O’Driscoll was surprisingly relieved of his duties with Forest perched nicely in seventh place, just a point outside the play-offs. After revealing the club had a “Premier League manager” in mind, Chairman Fawaz Al-Hasawi unveiled former Aston Villa and Birmingham City manager Alex McLeish to some bemusement from large sections of the Forest faithful. The change in footballing philosophy being a sticking point for supporters due to McLeishs perceived negative style of play.
And today with Forest in eleventh place in the npower Championship with just one win in the last seven games including; an FA Cup defeat to League One outfit Oldham Athletic. McLeish and the club have decided to call time on yet another turbulent chapter in the clubs history.
Fawaz Al-Hasawi expressed his regret at the decision “I’m bitterly disappointed – as is Alex – that it has not worked out as we had hoped when he became our manager”. Alex McLeish also had regrets and was disappointed that his latest venture didn’t bring the success he had hoped “I am extremely saddened to be leaving after such a short period but even so it has been a privilege to be manager of such a fantastic football club.” He continued by outlining the main reasons for his departure “There was a difference in the understanding of the development strategy of the football club and it was felt by both parties that we should part company”. [Ryan Benjamin]
04-02-2013 - Alex McLeish was left to rue what might have been as his Nottingham Forest side lost 2-1 to the manager’s former club, Birmingham City, at St. Andrews.
Two goals from ‘Blues’ winger Chris Burke was enough to secure the three points for the home team, Billy Sharp scored a late consolation for Forest. The result sees ‘The Reds’ sitting in eleventh place, six points shy of a play-off position having played a game more than the two teams directly below them.
Burke was strongly linked with a move to the City Ground in January, which makes his contribution to the game all the more galling for McLeish. He curled in a sublime effort from the edge of the area which left Forest ‘keeper Karl Darlow with little chance. Burke then tapped in from close range after some excellent work from highly rated winger Nathan Redmond.
The away team started the game positively and looked the more likely to open the scoring. Chris Cohen, Billy Sharp and Greg Halford all had decent attempts on goal before Burke netted with less than a minute of the first half remaining. Halford missed the best chance of the game when he headed over from seven yards out, before Burke scored what proved to be the winner from close range.
Billy Sharp kept his respectable scoring record going when he was tripped in the area by Birmingham centre back Curtis Davies , he collected himself to finish from the spot, taking his total this season to 12 from 31 appearances.
Alex McLeish noted the impact of Burke who he had previously managed at both Birmingham and Rangers, he said “Burkey came back to haunt me. We know that he was capable of doing that today, he’s a good player”.
Whilst praising Burke, the manager couldn’t hide his disappointment at the way in which Forest lost the game, he cited the team’s lack of ability to retain the ball as a factor “We were disappointed by the manner of his goals. We were in possession twice and surrendered the ball - five seconds later it was in the back of the net” McLeish explained.
Conversely to McLeish, Birmingham manager Lee Clark was full of praise for his team, whose victory at the weekend makes it five undefeated for the West Midlands club, who had struggled to pick up points at the beginning of the season.
Birmingham are now sixteenth in the npower Championship, just four points behind Forest and Clark is understandably pleased with the progress his side are making "I am enjoying it at the moment because we have a lot of pace in the team when we break” he said.
Clark also confirmed that Forest had made a bid for the match winner Chris Burke and suggested that a deal could have been done had the offer been more to Birmingham’s liking. The fact that the initial enquiry wasn’t rebuffed suggests the club were open to offers "In the last seven or eight games he has been fantastic and I am glad we turned down what wasn't the biggest of bids for him from Nottingham Forest" he revealed.
Forest are next in action this Saturday as they try to improve on a disappointing run of form when they travel to second bottom Bristol City. ‘The Reds’ have won just once in the last seven games in all competitions, a statistic that needs to be improved upon if the club are serious about making a play-off push. [Ryan Benjamin]
01-02-2013 - Nottingham Forest head to St. Andrew’s on Saturday to face Birmingham City in the npower Championship. Manager Alex McLeish is due to return to face his former club, where despite winning the League Cup he was sacked following the club’s relegation in 2011. His position as Forest boss is uncertain this Friday morning however, following a turbulent week in which he had to dismiss rumours of a falling-out with the ownership before seeing his acquisition of George Boyd cancelled in a frustrating end to transfer deadline day.
The transfer of Boyd from Peterborough United was all set to be announced with an hour to go before the 11pm deadline, following agreements of a transfer fee and personal terms, only for owner Fawaz Al Hasawi to pull the plug at the eleventh hour, claiming a failed medical had scuppered the deal. The reason turned out to be a problem with Boyd’s eyesight. Posh Director of Football Barry Fry labelled the Forest owners ‘a disgrace’ over the saga, which has left his club out of pocket, and a player very unhappy not to secure his move Trentside. McLeish was understood to be furious, and there were overnight rumours claiming that he had resigned from his position after just a month in charge.
As well as Boyd, Forest also failed in a bid to bring in Wolves’ Stephen Ward, and their long pursuit of Chris Burke of Saturday’s opponents Birmingham also failed to bear fruit. The events prompted many Reds fans to take to social networking sites to express their embarrassment at the whole episode.
As for the game itself, Forest will need a much-improved performance from last Saturday, where they were humbled 3-0 by play-off rivals Watford. Another brace from Matej Vydra put the Hornets on their way to a crucial win, which increased the gap to Forest to eight points. Birmingham have endured a tough season in the Championship, languishing in eighteenth place in the table. Their win at Burnley last week was their first since Boxing Day. Their battle to keep highly-rated England goalkeeper Jack Butland was finally lost on deadline day, with Stoke City securing his services for a fee of £4 million. The England man reportedly turned down the chance to speak to Chelsea, claiming that he wanted to continue to play first-team football. Stoke have returned him to the Blues on loan for the rest of the season in order to continue his excellent progress.
The two team’s last meeting was at the City Ground in September, where they played a 2-2 draw. Birmingham had taken a 2-0 second half lead with goals from Hayden Mullins and Marlon King, before Simon Cox and a Pablo Ibanez own goal earned the Reds a point. Forest’s last trip to the second city saw Steve Cotterill’s Reds score an at-the-time unlikely 2-1 win, which was the catalyst to the successful battle to avoid relegation. [Adam Gray]
31-01-2013 - Nottingham Forest conclude the January transfer window with a chaotic deal for Peterborough United forward, George Boyd, falling through. The club claim that the player’s eyesight wasn’t up to the standard they required.
Boyd was on loan at the City Ground in 2010, but a permanent transfer wasn’t forthcoming. On this occasion however, a deal looked more than likely as the player carried out his medical in Nottingham this morning.
The other twist is that ‘Reds’ manager, Alex McLeish, was said to have been keen on the move to go through, but it appears to have been the owners who have re-buffed the deal.
However, outspoken Peterborough owner Darragh MacAnthony revealed that the move had failed to materialise after the alleged problem with Boyd’s eyesight came to light, “After putting Boyd through a medical since 10am this morning, their owner has cxxx (expletive) the deal at the last minute” the ‘Posh’ owner was clearly frustrated and continued by tweeting “Their manager wants him, farcical and ridiculous decision!”
In his own inimitable way MacAnthony confirmed that it was a problem with Boyd’s eyesight that caused the deal to collapse “Apparently after playing 300 games in six-and-a-half years his vision isn’t 20/20 so no deal. Total disgrace the whole thing” he fumed.
On a positive note, Forest have completed the signing of Kuwaiti goal keeper Khaled Al-Rashidi on a two-and-half year contract from Al Rabi on a free transfer. Al-Rashidi is the first Kuwaiti to join an English club.
Forest have also retained the services of current players Radi Majewski and Dexter Blackstock. Polish international Majewski has committed his long term future to The Reds by putting pen to paper on a three-and-a-half year contract. Blackstock has signed a contract up until 2017 and Chairman Fawaz Al Hasawi was understandably pleased “I’m delighted that Radi has joined Dexter in deciding his long term future is with us at the City Ground” he said.
Lee Camp has also left the club after making 180 appearances in four years; the Northern Ireland international has been released from his contract after being informed he would no longer be guaranteed a first team place. Premier League Norwich City look set to snap up the ‘keeper. [Ryan Benjamin]
28-01-2013 - Nottingham Forest manager Alex McLeish produced a scathing summary of his team’s performance after Saturdays 3-0 defeat to Watford at the City Ground.
Forest were outplayed from start to finish by a Watford side who were five points ahead of their hosts before match. ‘The Hornets’ now move up to fourth, with Forest sitting tenth in the npower Championship table.
Watford secured the win thanks to a brace from prolific front man Matej Vydra and a strike from Troy Deeney, the two have scored 30 goals between them this season which has fired them to within a point of the automatic promotion places.
Forest have won once in six games since McLeish took over from Sean O’Driscoll, and the current manager couldn’t hide his disappointment following the clubs latest set-back. McLeish said “It was a poor a performance from our back four – the two centre forwards caused us no end of problems”.
McLeish bemoaned his side’s lack of creativity as Forest failed to match the visitors in all aspects of the game. Watford had travelled to Spain to escape the elements in the build-up, whilst Forest stayed in Nottingham to recover from a physically and mentally taxing game against Derby last weekend.
“I don’t want to make excuses for the players but they trained four days this week after an emotionally-draining Derby game. Perhaps our preparation accounted for our level of performance today” he explained.
McLeish concedes that Forest’s play-off hopes would diminish if they produce similar performances between now and the end of the season. “There was a lack of sharpness, a lack of thought” he said “We know that things have to improve because that sort of performance won’t get us into the playoffs.”
Next Saturday Forest make the short trip from East to West Midlands to St. Andrews were they take on a struggling Birmingham City, whom McLeish managed from 2007 to 2011.In an eventful spell at the club, he over saw relegation, promotion, a league cup win and another relegation before resigning and going on to join ‘The Blues’ bitter local rivals Aston Villa, which is bound to ensure a lively reception from the home fans for McLeish. [Ryan Benjamin]
25-01-2013 - Nottingham Forest are back in action this Saturday as they face play-off chasing Watford at the City Ground in the npower Championship.
Alex McLeish’s side go into the game with added confidence following their good display last Saturday at Pride Park. Forest had the better of the game against Derby County, taking the lead through Chris Cohen before Jamie Ward’s equaliser, but they were unable to turn their supremacy, particularly in the second half into more goals as they had to settle for a 1-1 draw.
McLeish has added to the squad this week with the arrival of Darius Henderson. The forward has joined from Millwall for an undisclosed fee on a deal until the end of the season. Henderson has scored at the City Ground already this season, having found the net for the Lions in their 4-1 victory over Forest in November.
Watford currently sit in the final play-off place and are five points ahead of their hosts heading into this game. If Forest are to mount their own top-six push this season, McLeish knows that it is a game they cannot afford to lose, with McLeish describing the City Ground encounter as ‘huge’.
Gianfranco Zola’s Hornets spent the week training in Spain’s La Manga, a trip they certainly earned with some great performances of late. They have lost only one of their last six league outings and have risen into the promotion shake-up following an iffy start to the season. Their rise up the table has been in no small part down to the goalscoring form of Matej Vydra. The Czech striker is one of many on loan at Vicarage Road from Udinese, and he has 16 league goals this season. Since his brace against Forest last month, he has scored on six more occasions. Another impressive stat is that he has scored twice in five of the last six games in which he has scored.
Forest were poor in the reverse fixture, going down 2-0 and finishing the game with ten men following Daniel Ayala’s sending off. He will miss the chance to make amends on Saturday with the injury that also kept him out of last Saturday’s East Midlands derby.
The Reds have the edge in the all-time record, with 13 league wins to Watford’s 11. [Adam Gray]
22-01-2013 - Nottingham Forest manager Alex McLeish was in a mixed mood after Saturdays 1-1 draw with Derby County at Pride Park.
Forest took the lead through a fortuitous strike by Chris Cohen, after the midfielder miskicked a Billy Sharp cross the ball fell kindly at his feet In front of goal where he produced a neat finish to beat Derby ‘keeper Adam Legzdins.
Just after half time Simon Gillett was caught pondering on the ball in his own half by Conner Salmon who played in Jamie Ward to fire a low shot into the bottom left hand corner of the net.
Forest ended their three game losing streak at the home of their fierce rivals which saw them fall to tenth in the Championship table, five points of sixth place Watford who they welcome to the City Ground on Saturday.
Forest started the game slowly but played their way back into the game and manager Alex McLeish was disappointed not to come away from the match with all three points but was pleased with the attitude and application his team showed.
“Derby got out the traps, pressed us and played some nice intricate passing in midfield and got running at our defenders” he said “But we settled into it and started to show some more composure.
McLeish’s team edged what was a tight encounter, and he was impressed with how potent Forest looked in the second half “I thought we would knick it in the last half hour because we looked very dangerous going forward”.
He also noted the evident self-belief that his players showed, something that has been lacking in recent weeks ““The players showed tremendous commitment until the final whistle and hopefully they are starting to believe in themselves a bit more.” [Ryan Benjamin]
19-01-2013 - Nottingham Forest renew their rivalry with Derby County today, as they head to Pride Park for the latest East Midlands derby. The npower Championship encounter will always mean more to the two sets of supporters than just the three points which are on offer; indeed, the old foes also meet for the Brian Clough Trophy and the bragging rights.
At the time of writing, the game remains on, despite the threat of heavy snow across the whole of the country, but particularly the Midlands. Although the pitch will be playable, the snow will mean that the roads and surrounding areas will require treating. Last season’s game at Pride Park was postponed from its original date, and both sides will be keen to avoid a repeat scenario.
Victory for the Rams would give them their second successive league double over Forest, following a 40-year wait for last season’s. The game at the City Ground in September saw Derby run out 1-0 winners in a fiery affair which saw Dexter Blackstock sent off for an apparent use of the elbow. Pride Park will see a 33,000 sell-out, boosted by a 4,000-strong contingent from up the A52.
Those fans have seen another week of ins and outs Trentside. Firstly Kuwaiti goalkeeper Khalid Al Rashidi moved to Nottingham after being granted a work permit, and then there was major upheaval upstairs, with the departures of Chief Executive Mark Arthur, Chief Scout Keith Burt and former player, Manager and Chairman Frank Clark. The Al Hasawis clearly have ideas of who should be in those roles, but once again they leave more questions than answers after a turbulent couple of weeks.
Danny Collins is available following his one-game suspension, and Blackstock is pushing for a recall after missing last Saturday’s win against Peterborough with injury. Andy Reid and Daniel Ayala remain absentees, and Adlene Guedioura will this weekend begin his Africa Cup of Nations campaign with Algeria.
Derby will be looking for their fourth consecutive win against Forest, and to continue their good Pride Park record against the Reds. They have lost there just once, a Rob Earnshaw goal giving Forest a famous 1-0 victory two years ago almost to the day. Despite Derby’s dominance of the fixture in recent times, Forest still lead the all-time record, with 36 wins to 33. [Adam Gray]
18-01-2013 - Nottingham Forest make the short trip to local rivals Derby County on Saturday in an eagerly anticipated clash that could see ‘The Reds’ edge closer to a play-off place, or see ‘The Rams’ over take their East Midlands rivals in the Npower Championship table.
Following Alex McLeish’s first win as Forest manager last week, confidence will surely be high as he tries to improve the clubs dismal away record at Derby. ‘The Reds’ have won just once in the last 10 meetings since Derby moved to Pride Park in 1997.
McLeish has of course been involved in some of the country’s biggest and most fiercely contested derby games.
The Forest manager can boast proud track records in both the Old Firm and Edinburgh derbies north of the boarder and a fairly non-descript record in the Birmingham derby, taking charge of just two, one for Birmingham City and one for Aston Villa.
Like the supporters, McLeish is looking forward to what is bound to be another tense and incident filled game between the two East Midlands rivals. “I’m looking forward to it, I love the atmosphere in derby games and I know that this one is as feisty as they come” he enthused.
The manager is aware that tensions will be running high but will be looking for his players to be competitive but composed in order to achieve a positive result.
“Let’s hope the players control themselves and the referee does not have to deal with anything that we don’t like to see on a football pitch. You have to keep your emotions in check in any game, let alone ones like this” he explained.
But despite Forest’s poor form at tomorrow’s opponents McLeish is looking to put past results behind them “They have home advantage and have taken the bragging rights in recent fixtures. But there is no reason why we can’t go there and get a favourable result.”
Forest will be grateful for the timely return of club captain Danny Collins who is back from suspension after his red card in the FA Cup defeat to Oldham, Dexter Blackstocks fitness will be assessed after picking up a slight knock in training.
‘The Reds’ will definitely be without Andy Reid and Daniel Ayala, both of whom are suffering from hamstring injuries. Adlene Guedioura is away on international duty at The African Cup of Nations.
Derby will be sweating on the fitness of 17 year old Will Hughes’s knee injury which he sustained during last Saturdays 2-1defeat away at Brighton, Jake Buxton and Shaun Barker however will be missing for the hosts. [Ryan Benjamin]
16-01-2013 - Nottingham Forest midfielder Chris Cohen was in a positive mood ahead of his teams eagerly anticipated clash with fierce rivals Derby County at Pride Park on Saturday.
When the two teams met in September, a bruising encounter was decided by a close range effort from Craig Bryson. The game saw six bookings and Dexter Blackstock was dismissed for what appeared to be an elbow, though neutral observers felt it to be a harsh decision.
Just three points separates the two teams in the Championship table with a win potentially moving Forest just outside the play-off places on goal difference, a fact that Cohen is all too aware of.
“It’s a big game for both teams” Cohen says, “If we win we go six points clear of Derby but, more importantly, closer to the play-offs”. Cohen, who has been at the club for six years, acknowledges the importance of the fixture to the fans, “It’d be nice to give our supporters the bragging rights by pulling further away from them in the table”.
Despite joining the club in 2007, Cohen was given the captain’s armband for just the second time in his Forest career during last weekend’s win over Peterborough United due to the suspension of club captain Danny Collins.
The move to entrust Cohen with the captaincy could be taken as a sign of his growing maturity and consistency in his performances, and represents a new stage in the 25 year olds career.
On receiving the captaincy Cohen says “It was a really big experience for me and one that I am very proud of, it was only for one game but was enjoyable while it lasted”.
Forest will have to overcome a poor record to take all three points at Derby, one win in the last 10 outings is all ‘The Reds’ have to show for their trips down Brian Clough Way. A late Robert Earnshaw goal led to a victory in January 2011 which was Forests first win at the home of ‘The Rams’ since 1994, in fact, those two games are the only occasions that ‘The Reds’ have tasted victory in the last twenty two years at the home of their rivals, a poor record that covers thirteen matches. [Ryan Benjamin]
14-01-2013 - Alex McLeish gained his first victory as Nottingham Forest manager thanks to a 2-1 win over Peterborough United at the City Ground.
Goals from centre backs Greg Halford and second time loanee Elliott Ward secured the win for the home side, and leaves Forest three points off of a play-off place.
Peterborough came into the game having won four out of the previous five games but the defeat sees them slip back into the relegation zone.
Forest boasted three new faces in their starting line-up, ‘keeper Karl Darlow deputised for Lee Camp and loan signing from West Bromwich Albion, Gonzalo Jara replaced Brenden Moloney at right back .Centre back Elliott Ward has returned for a second loan spell at the club.
Within the opening ten minutes Jara was involved in a move that led to him crossing for an inform Billy Sharp to uncharacteristically head over.
Peterborough’s own hit man Dwight Gayle had an opportunity to test Darlow, but his weak effort was saved comfortably by the 22 year old.
Forest opened the scoring after 28 minutes when Halford headed in his second goal of the season form Henri Lansbury’s corner, despite the efforts of Kane Ferdinand on the line, the ball was judged to have crossed by the assistant.
The home team shaded the first half; Billy Sharp fired wide after good approach play by Chris Cohen, he then tested ‘Posh’ ‘keeper Bobby Olejnik with a header that was brilliant parried around the post.
Peterborough tried to force the issue before half time but a tame attempt by on loan Manchester United midfielder Davide Petrucci went wide. George Boyd also had an attempt saved by Darlow at his near post.
Forest looked relatively comfortable after the break but conceded on the hour from a corner after failing to clear the first ball, which allowed Manchester United loanee Scott Wootton to stab the ball in from close range.
Forest had just about been the better team and this was reflected in the score
line with seven minutes remaining. Elliott Ward rose highest to send a thumping header past Bobby Olejnik in front of the Trent End.
McLeish bolstered his midfield with the additions of Moussi and Greening as Forest protected their one goal lead comfortably until the final whistle.
After the game an understandably relived McLeish praised his side’s effort and determination in what was a much needed win for the club. “I thought we showed a lot of character against Peterborough, to come back from what was a horrible result in the FA Cup last weekend (3-2 loss to Oldham)” he explained.
‘Posh’ manager Darren Ferguson was left ruing his teams defending from corners and departed the City Ground feeling somewhat hard done by “To lose two goals and the game to two set-pieces is very disappointing because I thought a draw would have been a fair result” he said at full time.
Next weekend sees Forest make the short trip to near but none so dear neighbours Derby County, a win could see Forest level on points with sixth place Watford (if results go their way) and defeat could see them over taken by ‘The Rams’ in the Championship table. [Ryan Benjamin]
11-01-2013 - Nottingham Forest are back in npower Championship action this Saturday when they face an improving Peterborough United side at the City Ground.
Forest will be desperate for a better afternoon than last Saturday, when Alex McLeish saw his team dumped out of the FA Cup 3-2 by League One side Oldham Athletic. The first half was comfortable enough for the Reds, maybe too much so. It certainly brought no clues as to how badly the second half would go. The visitors scored three times in seven minutes, and saw their hosts reduced to ten men, in what was a horror show for the home fans who did bother to turn up.
Lee Camp looks like he has played his last game for the club, with McLeish letting him look for a new club. The goalkeeper is out of contract at the end of the season, and has cut a frustrated figure at the City Ground in recent months, as no contract talks arrived. Camp has been linked with a number of clubs in this January transfer window, during which he would be allowed to leave on a free transfer. McLeish will seek an experienced replacement, with QPR’s Robert Green reportedly on the wish list, but for now the gloves will go to Karl Darlow, who has been recalled from a loan spell at Walsall in time to make his first Championship start.
Forest have been boosted this week by news of Elliott Ward re-signing for the rest of the season. He will be joined in the defence by Chilean Gonzalo Jara Reyes, who has arrived on loan from West Bromwich Albion. The full-back has Championship experience having had a spell last year at Brighton.
Peterborough still continue to sit towards the bottom of the table, but their form now is in stark contrast to how they began the season. Darren Ferguson’s side were bottom with no points from seven games, but he has been allowed the time to turn it around and get his team towards safety. Currently they sit outside the bottom three on goal difference, although they are on a decent run, having won four of their last five league games, scoring 14 goals in the process. This week they signed former Forest loanee Scott Wootton, who joins from Manchester United, managed of course by Darren Ferguson’s father Sir Alex.
Forest won this season’s meeting at London Road 1-0, courtesy of a goal from Andy Reid. Unfortunately the injury he picked up during the Oldham defeat means he misses this game, and possibly the next four weeks of action. [Adam Gray]
10-01-2012 - Nottingham Forest have completed the loan signing of 27 year old centre back Elliott Ward. Ward is embarking on his second loan spell at the City Ground after a previous nine week contract came to an end in January.
Ward’s parent club, Norwich City have allowed The Reds to sign the player until the end of the season to add to the team’s defensive armoury. Ward has found first team opportunities limited at Carrow Road after the acquisitions of Michael Turner and Sebastian Bassong.
Forest chairman Fawaz Al Hasawi was in buoyant mood after the capture of a proven Championship player “Elliott proved how valuable to our squad he can be during his initial loan spell with us” he continued by saying “He made it clear he wanted to come back to the Club for the remainder of the season and we’re delighted to have him here.”
Ward started his career at West Ham United where he struck up a good partnership with Anton Ferdinand during the clubs 2004/05 Championship campaign which resulted in the East London club securing a return to the Premier League.
After dropping down the pecking order at West Ham, Ward signed for Coventry City for £1 million and started well, even sparking rumours of a return to the top flight with Fulham and, remarkably, old club West Ham.
Unfortunately Ward fell out of favour at ‘The Sky Blues’ and after a couple of loan spells and signed permanently for Norwich City on a free transfer. He made 51 appearances during the clubs 2010/2011 promotion season from the Championship.
The defender missed the cut for the 25 man squad this season and clearly felt that his optimum chance of regular football was to sign for Forest in a division he has excelled in previously.
Ward will have the opportunity to make his second debut at the City Ground this Saturday against Peterborough United. [Ryan Benjamin]
10-01-2013 - Nottingham Forest will be hoping to put an inconsistent run of form behind them on Saturday, as fourth bottom Peterborough United visit the City Ground.
The Reds have won three and lost five of their last ten games in all competitions and new boss Alex McLeish will be hoping for a victory to gain momentum for a play-off push and ease the unrest felt by sections of the Forest support.
New loan signing Elliott Ward is set to start for Forest as injury to Daniel Ayala and the suspension of Danny Collins leave the Reds slightly lacking in numbers at the heart of the defence.
Forest will have to wait on the fitness of mercurial midfielder Andy Reid whilst Adlene Guedioura is unavailable due to his involvement in the African Cup of Nations.
The good news for Forest is that striker Billy Sharp will be available, the frontman has scored five times in the last seven games and has netted 11 times in 27 appearances this season.
‘The Posh’ will be wary of Sharp; he has scored four times against the Cambridgeshire club in his last five outings against them.
Despite their lowly league position, it would be costly to underestimate Peterborough, ‘The Posh’ have been resurgent in recent weeks winning four out of the last five league games.
An upshot of Peterborough’s run of form is that they have managed to reel in the likes of Barnsley, who they beat 2-1 last week and last season’s relegated club Wolves and Bolton.
Similarly to Forest, Peterborough have a striker in top form, 22 year old Dwight Gayle has netted six times in the clubs last six games, which has helped relive the pressure on Peterborough’s perennial goal scorer George Boyd.
Posh manager Darren Ferguson has used in contacts at former club Manchester United to acquire the services of two promising youth and reserve team stars. Centre back Scott Wooton and highly rated midfielder Davide Petrucci have joined on loan until the end of the current season.
Last season fixture saw Peterborough leave the City Ground with three points thanks to a goal from George Boyd, both teams finished the season level on points with The Posh having a better plus 5 goal difference over The Reds.
A win for Forest this time round could see them level on points with sixth place Watford, whilst defeat could see them slip as low as fourteenth and with a local Derby at Pride Park and a meeting with an in-form Watford on the horizon Saturday would be as good a time as any for Alex McLeish to pick up his first win. [Ryan Benjamin]
03-01-2013 - Nottingham Forest begin their campaign in the FA Cup on Saturday with a third round tie against League One side Oldham Athletic. New boss Alex McLeish will be desperate to avoid embarrassment at the hands of lower league opposition.
Forest began 2013 with a poor 3-0 defeat by Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park in the npower Championship. After a poor first half which featured very few chances, the first goal was always going to be crucial. Unfortunately for Forest, it went to a home side which until then had been short of confidence. Ruben Rochina’s effort gave Blackburn the impetus they needed to run out comfortable winners in the second half, and condemned Forest to their fourth league game without an away win.
Alan Hutton, Elliott Ward and Jermaine Jenas have returned to their respective parent clubs, with no current plans for any of them to return in the near future. Jonathan Greening and David McGoldrick are back at the club following their loan spells away, the latter’s being a very fruitful period in front of goal for Coventry City. They may feature in a Reds shirt for their first appearances for some time. One returning player who is out of the game is Marcus Tudgay, whose loan spell at Barnsley was ended by a broken collar bone. Matt Derbyshire will also be unavailable, having played for Oldham in the first two rounds of this competition during his loan period at Boundary Park.
One player who fans will hope could feature is new signing Stephen McLaughlin. The 22-year-old Irishman has signed from Derry City from an undisclosed fee.
Oldham sit nineteenth in npower League One under boss Paul Dickov, and are on a tough run of league form, having gone five games without a win. They have just one victory in the league since their second round win against Doncaster Rovers. Forest will have to be aware of the talents of Jose Baxter. The former Everton youngster has ten goals this season, and netted in Oldham’s 2-2 draw with Scunthorpe on New Year’s Day with a coolly-taken penalty.
During Forest’s League One years, Oldham were always a bogey side, with the Reds failing to muster as much as a goal in the last five encounters, and the Forest fans will still remember the infamous 5-0 defeat at Boundary Park on New Year’s Day 2007. McLeish will no doubt be looking for an immediate improvement on that this Saturday.
01-01-2013 - When Nottingham Forest began their festive campaign at home to Leeds United on Boxing Day, few would have expected that it would be the start of one of the more eventful weeks in recent years at the club.
Despite falling behind at home to Leeds United in front of the Sky cameras, Forest roared back to hit the visitors with a devastating spell of attacking football, scoring four goals in seven minutes. A Leeds consolation didn’t take any gloss off what was a terrific afternoon for a Forest side which, after a difficult run of results prior, looked like it was starting to go places.
Incredibly for boss Sean O’Driscoll, the only place he was heading was for the sack. The Al Hasawis’ moving of the goalposts in the last couple of weeks means that they expect promotion this season, not after two or three years as had been part of the initial plan back in the summer when they bought the club. O’Driscoll leaving the club was seen as a blow by many Forest fans, although perhaps the style of football, and in particular some results, still left a bit to be desired despite the team’s relatively good position in the npower Championship table.
The fans were looking for a big-name replacement. Roberto Di Matteo was mentioned, as was former Reds midfielder Roy Keane. Some names excited them, some got the fans hoping. Instead they got Alex McLeish. The Scot has achieved some great things in the game, most notably with Rangers, but in England he will always be remembered for his poor tenures at Aston Villa and Birmingham City. He may have got the Blues promoted – probably the reason for his appointment Trentside – but he did so playing unattractive football. He may have won the Carling Cup too, but his team was relegated and the sack soon followed.
It is debatable how much credit McLeish can take for a solid home point against Crystal Palace, as Rob Kelly and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink took the team, so it was vital that Forest hit the ground running at Ewood Park on New Year’s Day to appease those still unsure that he is right for Nottingham Forest. What followed was a dismal 3-0 defeat, and a worrying admission that he needs forward players to boost the squad, when it is defenders that he no doubt needs more urgently.
On Saturday Forest entertain League One Oldham Athletic in the third round of the FA Cup, where McLeish will sadly be on another hiding to nothing. Defeat at the hands of lower-league opposition will not bear thinking about for a manager who knows he hasn’t got anywhere near the time he wants or should have to get his feet under the table and get it right.
14-12-2012 - Nottingham Forest head to the south coast on Saturday in pursuit of their second successive win, as they face Brighton and Hove Albion in the npower Championship.
The visit to the Amex Stadium comes seven days after a much-needed victory at the City Ground against Burnley. The Reds were not brilliant, but the performance was good enough against a surprisingly lacklustre Clarets team. Dexter Blackstock and Billy Sharp got the goals in a 2-0 win.
Sharp is celebrating the birth of son Leo, wonderful news considering the difficult year he and his family have endured personally. The on-loan striker will love nothing more than to mark his new arrival with a goal.
Simon Cox could push for a recall into Sean O’Driscoll’s matchday squad far sooner than anticipated following his foot injury. The setback had been expected to keep him out for as long as two months, but his recovery has gone smoother than hoped. O’Driscoll may want to play it safe though and not risk him so soon if he doesn’t need to.
Under Gus Poyet Brighton have made steady progress in the last couple of years, firmly establishing themselves in their new Amex Stadium and as a Championship side. They sit 8th in the table at present, with an identical record to Forest, with a slightly better goal difference. Despite their decent position, they have come unstuck in recent weeks following a great start to the season, having won just three of their last 14 games. Their top scorer is Craig Mackail-Smith, who has 10 goals in 18 league appearances.
Brighton’s various homes down the years haven’t been the happiest of stomping grounds for Forest. They were beaten at the Amex last season with a stoppage time winner despite deserving more from the game. Their last away victory against the Seagulls came way back in 1982. [Adam Gray]
07-12-2012 - Nottingham Forest are at home for the second Saturday in succession as they entertain Burnley in the npower Championship, when they will look to end their run of successive defeats.
Last Saturday’s 2-1 reverse at the City Ground against Hull City was a below-par performance from Sean O’Driscoll’s team, although the Forest manager said he was happy with the display despite the result. Although Hull’s goals were somewhat fortuitous – the first was a debatable penalty, and the second was what looked a clear handball – Forest never really did enough to get a positive result, and the visitors were decent value for the win.
The loss leaves the Reds tenth in the Championship, four points off a play-off place, but only five points ahead of Birmingham City who sit 19th, an illustration of how tight the division still is this season.
Burnley are a point behind Forest in 14th place. Their progress this year has been solid if unspectacular as they continue to build under new manager Sean Dyche, who replaced Eddie Howe, who returned to former club Bournemouth earlier this season. Their form of late has taken a dip, having won just one of their last five games. One player who has been anything but unspectacular for the Clarets this season is Charlie Austin. The frontman has scored 21 goals in 22 appearances in all competitions, and Forest will have their work cut out to keep him quiet.
Burnley did the double over the Reds last season, winning 2-0 in their most recent visit to the City Ground. They lead the all-time record with 36 league wins to Forest’s 34. [Adam Gray]
30-11-2012 - Nottingham Forest will look to bounce back from defeat at Ipswich when they face Hull City on Saturday in the npower Championship.
The Reds suffered a surprise 3-1 defeat at Portman Road on Tuesday night, with a poor performance all round. Boss Sean O’Driscoll is keen for his squad to show a marked improvement in front of the City Ground faithful, and he hasn’t ruled out making changes to the starting lineup for the visit of the Tigers.
One man who is definitely out of contention is Simon Cox, who has been ruled out for two months with the foot injury he suffered last Saturday in the win at Wolverhampton Wanderers. Radi Majewski remains another long-term absentee, but Greg Halford and Jermaine Jenas will hope for recalls to the squad.
Hull have made decent progress under Steve Bruce. Currently they are in 6th place in the Championship table, although they are experiencing a sticky patch, having taken just four points from their last four games, and they are without a goal in their last two matches. Interestingly, their goalless draw on Tuesday night against Crystal Palace was their first draw in the league since August, a run of 15 games.
Forest will have to end their poor recent record against Hull if they are to get back to winning ways. Since the Tigers’ relegation from the Premier League in 2010, they have won three and drawn one of the four league meetings, including 1-0 wins in each of their visits to the City Ground. Forest haven’t come out on top since a 2-0 win in the old Division Two in 1977. [Adam Gray]
26-11-2012 - Nottingham Forest face their second away game in four days on Tuesday night, with a trip to Portman Road to take on Ipswich Town in the npower Championship.
The Reds will look for their third successive league victory following a brilliant 2-1 win at Wolves on Saturday. Despite falling behind early on, Forest got themselves on level terms through Billy Sharp before Adlene Guedioura – making his first appearance against his former club – rifled home a 25-yard piledriver past Carl Ikeme to give Sean O’Driscoll’s side the points. Guedioura did not celebrate his goal against the club that gave him his break in English football, and the gesture was applauded by a section of the Wolves supporters.
One cause for concern though was the ankle injury sustained by Simon Cox. The striker was taken off in the second half, although the club doesn’t yet know the full extent of the damage following scans on Monday. Andy Reid, Jermaine Jenas and Greg Halford missed Saturday’s game, but all three are pushing for recalls to O’Driscoll’s matchday squad.
Ipswich have found themselves firmly planted in the bottom three for most of the season, and they head into the game against Forest second from bottom of the Championship table. Although they will have expected their fortunes to change following the decision to replace manager Paul Jewell with Mick McCarthy, the Tractor Boys continue to struggle. Indeed, McCarthy has already overseen a 6-0 defeat at Leicester, and a 5-0 reverse at the hands of Crystal Palace.
One opposition defender who will need no introduction to Forest is Luke Chambers. The former Reds captain spent four-and-a-half years Trentside before his free transfer to Portman Road. His time at the heart of the Ipswich defence has not gone as well as he had hoped quite yet, in fact he was dropped for Saturday’s 1-1 draw with bottom club Peterborough United.
Forest will look to continue their excellent recent form against Ipswich, having won each of the last five meetings. Their last trip to Suffolk produced a much needed 3-1 victory in January, during a spell when Steve Cotterill’s team was finding goals incredibly hard to come by. [Adam Gray]nds derby defeat behind them when they entertain Blackburn Rovers at the City Ground in the npower Championship.
Derby County ran out 1-0 winners in a fiercely contested encounter. Although the Reds edged the first half, their task was made more difficult within half a minute of the restart, with Dexter Blackstock seeing red for an apparent elbow. Craig Bryson’s tap in earned the visitors the three points, and ensured that Derby have won three in a row against Forest for the first time in 100 years.
Blackstock will begin a three game ban against Blackburn following his controversial dismissal. Adlene Guedioura and Simon Cox will also miss the game due to their own suspensions. Jermaine Jenas was not involved on Sunday, but could make an appearance tonight, and Henri Lansbury will hope for a first start for Sean O’Driscoll as Forest look for a turnaround in fortunes.
After a decent start, the Reds have lost two in a row and have slipped to seventeenth in the table, albeit with this game in hand. A win would move them to within a point of the play-off places, but they face a Blackburn side, who despite their much-publicised off-the-field problems, have lost just once so far.
Eric Black is in caretaker charge of the side following Steve Kean’s resignation last Friday, and he oversaw his side’s 1-1 draw at Charlton on Saturday. There are some high-profile names rumoured with one of the hottest of hotseats in the English game, not least Tim Sherwood and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but right now Black will hope for a run of results to perhaps put himself in the thoughts of the Venky’s group.
The two sides last met in the League Cup three years ago at the City Ground, with Blackburn winning 1-0. They haven’t played in the league since 2001, when Forest came out on top 2-1.
29-09-2012 - Nottingham Forest face the biggest game of their season so far on Sunday afternoon, as East Midlands rivals Derby County visit the City Ground in the npower Championship.
There will be a full house Trentside, for what remains the most eagerly awaited fixture of any year for both clubs. As well as the three points, Forest will be trying to win back the Brian Clough Trophy, currently held proudly by the club managed by the late legend’s son Nigel.
The Reds were beaten last Saturday by Leeds United in what was their first defeat of the league season. Forest were lucky to only be 2-0 down at half time, but a much improved second half performance, which saw a Dexter Blackstock header halve the deficit, saw Sean O’Driscoll’s men feel aggrieved not to leave Elland Road with a point.
Henri Lansbury made his first appearance in a Reds shirt as a second half substitute last Saturday, and gave a good account of himself. The home fans will be desperate to see another midfield ‘debut’ on Sunday, with former favourite Jermaine Jenas rejoining the club on an emergency loan from Tottenham Hotspur.
Jenas began his career with Forest and made 33 appearances – including becoming the club’s youngest ever captain – before he earned high-profile move to Newcastle United for £5million in 2001. If he features, he will no doubt receive a warm welcome back.
Derby’s double over Forest last season was their first in 40 years, and the City Ground faithful will be desperate for their team to avoid losing to their arch rivals again. The home game saw the Rams run out 2-1 winners, despite playing almost the whole game with ten men following goalkeeper Frank Fielding’s red card for denying a goal scoring opportunity. The return encounter at Pride Park saw a 1-0 victory for Derby courtesy of an added-time winner from Jake Buxton.
21-09-2012 - Nottingham Forest put their unbeaten start to the league season on the line this Saturday, as they travel to Elland Road to face Leeds United in the npower Championship.
The Reds return to the scene of their greatest win of last season, a stunning 7-3 victory which set them well on their way to survival. One of those goals was a stunner from Adlene Guedioura, but he will miss the chance to add to his collection as he serves the first of his three-game suspension following his red card on Tuesday.
Forest finished the game at Crystal Palace with ten men, and in all honesty, a barely deserved point, after a 1-1 draw. Dexter Blackstock’s goal meant Forest shared the spoils, but it was Sean O’Driscoll’s team’s worst display of the season. The point leaves Forest four behind early leaders Blackburn after six games, which is about the time when some think the league table begins to take shape.
Forest have no new injury worries, although they have had to wait longer than perhaps expected for Henri Lansbury to recover from the ankle problem which has prevented him from making his debut. The former Arsenal midfielder may feature for the Under-21s next week in a bid to sharpen up his fitness.
Leeds haven’t made the start to season that one would expect from promotion contenders, losing three of their first six fixtures, including the last two at Cardiff and at home to Hull. Neil Warnock will have to do without the services of striker Ross McCormack, who faces a two-month injury lay-off, and there are also doubts about the fitness of Luciano Becchio for the visit of Forest.
Apart from last season’s 7-3 defeat – the first time they had ever conceded seven goals at home – Leeds’ recent record at home to Forest is not too bad. The Reds’ win in March was their first at Elland Road since 1996.
17-09-2012 - Nottingham Forest head to Selhurst Park on Tuesday night to face Crystal Palace, as the Reds look to continue their unbeaten start to the npower Championship season.
Forest battled back from 2-0 down to claim a share of the spoils against Birmingham City on Saturday, and if not for a missed Billy Sharp header late on, could have recorded a fantastic victory against the odds. Much credit must go to Sean O’Driscoll’s men for their fightback, although they will no doubt be disappointed by the two soft goals they allowed the visitors in the second half.
Simon Cox was a second half substitute on Saturday following his injury worry in midweek, and he reminded his manager of his ability with a stunning goal. He somehow managed to control Lewis McGugan’s long delivery and then stab the ball home in the same movement. It was a goal that received praise from no less than Rio Ferdinand on Twitter, and it came at a perfect time for Forest, who until then were being overrun in the game. Cox will be hoping it was enough to earn him a start on Tuesday night.
After losing all three of their opening league fixtures, Crystal Palace are enjoying a mini revival under boss Dougie Freedman. The Eagles have won their last two games, including a 1-0 win at south London rivals Charlton Athletic on Friday night. The win was Palace’s first away from home in the league in the whole of 2012. A poor away record means that they rely on Selhurst Park for the majority of their results. They lost there just five times last season, although one was to Forest, a Radi Majewski hat trick earning the points in March.
Forest are unbeaten in their last four visits, with Palace’s last home success over the Reds coming in December 2003.
01-09-2012 - Nottingham Forest are back in npower Championship action on Saturday when they entertain Charlton Athletic at the City Ground.
The Reds were beaten 4-1 by Wigan in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night in what was their first defeat of the season in all competitions. Despite a decent start to the league campaign, and the arrival of new signings which have increased expectations, the loss to Roberto Martinez’s Premier League outfit went to show how much work Forest still have to do this season. Despite the scoreline however, Forest gave a good account of themselves and were possibly unlucky to lose by such a margin.
Those fans who were at the City Ground on Tuesday night – just 7,545 – would have seen Henri Lansbury introduced to them. The £1million signing from Arsenal is another real sign of intent from the Al-Hasawis, although a slight ankle injury means that the midfielder is unlikely to make his debut until after next week’s International break.
Any transfer deadline day arrivals will have to sign before noon on Friday to be available for selection for the Charlton game, although at the time of writing it looks unlikely that there will be any further additions to Sean O’Driscoll’s squad.
Charlton have made a good start to life in the Championship following their promotion last season as League One champions. The Addicks, managed by club legend Chris Powell, have five points from their first three matches. Decent points against Birmingham and Hull and a victory over Leicester puts them, like Forest, within touching distance of the top six at this very early stage of the season.
The teams last met in 2008-09, the year in which Charlton were relegated and Forest produced a narrow escape from the drop in the final few weeks of the season. They played a goalless draw at the City Ground before goals from Nathan Tyson and Rob Earnshaw gave the Reds a key 2-0 victory at The Valley in January.
28-08-2012 - Nottingham Forest will put their unbeaten start to the season on the line on Tuesday as they bid for a place in the third round of the Capital One Cup. Top flight outfit Wigan are the visitors to The City Ground (kick-off 7.45pm) and The Reds will certainly head into the game in a buoyant frame of mind. They have claimed five points from their opening three Championship games and came from behind to clinch a 2-2 draw at promotion favourites Bolton on Friday. Wigan, meanwhile, beat Southampton 2-0 on Saturday to claim their first win of the season in the Premier League.
Sean O’Driscoll is considering making one or two changes to his starting line-up and may give Chris Cohen his first run-out at senior level after 11 months out with a knee injury. Forest will check on the fitness of Marcus Tudgay (groin) and Guy Moussi (knee) after they sat out Friday’s trip to Bolton.
But Daniel Ayala, who has missed three games with a hip problem, is making good progress and may be involved. Wigan are not reporting any fresh injury concerns following their win over Southampton. It remains to be seen whether boss Roberto Martinez makes the most of the opportunity to take a look at several of his fringe players.
23-08-2012 - Nottingham Forest are back in action this Friday night in the npower Championship, as they put their unbeaten start to the season on the line against Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok Stadium.
The game, which is live on Sky Sports, represents Sean O’Driscoll’s side’s toughest test so far this season. In Bolton they face a side who will be desperate to live up to the tag of promotion favourites, and kick-start their push for an instant return to the Premier League following their relegation last season.
Forest did everything but win on Tuesday night at Huddersfield. Simon Cox marked his first start for the club with a well-taken goal, and there could have been many more. Ultimately the Reds paid the price for not making the win safe; Jordan Rhodes’ 94th minute penalty earned the home side a barely-deserved point, their first of the campaign. Despite the late setback, there were many positives to take from what could have been a tricky affair at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Owen Coyle took his Bolton team to former club and local rivals Burnley on the opening day last Saturday, and it was his former employers who got the bragging rights. The home side’s 2-0 win proved a tough reminder that the Championship will not be an easy ride for the Trotters. Bolton did bounce back by beating Derby 2-0 on Tuesday night and will welcome Forest with confidence following what was a much-improved showing.
The two sides haven’t met since October 2001, when a Rod Wallace goal gave Bolton a 1-0 win in the League Cup. Forest last away win in this fixture came back in 1991, when they won 5-2 at Burnden Park in a League Cup tie.
22-08-2012 - Forest front man Simon Cox was in a positive mood following ‘The Reds’ 1-1 draw away at newly promoted Huddersfield Town. Forest were denied all three points thanks to a ninetieth minute penalty from prolific front man Jordan Rhodes.
Despite the nature of the result Cox insisted that Forest deserve credit for the performance, “the lads deserve massive plaudits for some of the football we played” he said, “we dominated from minute one, to minute ninety two. I think tired legs cost us in the end” he explained.
Forest signalled their intent by playing two up front, Cox and Dexter Blackstock were impressive in leading the line and Cox believes there is potential in the fledgling partnership “Most partnerships take a bit of time, but if you’re both willing to put a shift in there’s no reason why it shouldn’t work”.
Cox scored the opener for the visitors after 68 minutes, with Blackstock and Lewis McGugan hitting the woodwork as well as testing Huddersfield ‘keeper Alex Smithies on numerous occasions as Forest looked like they were going to romp to a victory before Rhodes’s late leveller. Although the home team had their moments Forest we’re dominant overall and out played their Yorkshire hosts and could have been out of sight had they taken their chances. Huddersfield did start to probe towards the end of the game, but Forest’s new back line stood firm until a poor challenge from Dan Harding gave the home side a late opportunity to salvage a point which they duly took.
Despite throwing away a possible three points ‘Reds’ manager Sean O’Driscoll praised his team’s performance, citing the blossoming relationship of his new strike force “We looked more of a threat through the game, Dexter and Simon look like they are going to forge a good partnership”. The manager was pleased with the performance and is hoping the team can reach the same level on a regular basis “If anyone had said that we would have got that performance before the game I would have taken it. I can’t be too disappointed” he continued by saying “We will try and replicate what we did against Huddersfield, we want the team to perform like we did and to do it consistently”.
Forest are up to fifth in The Championship and are facing a stern test against Bolton Wanderers at The Reebok on Friday night, ‘The Trotters’ ended their twelve year stint in the Premier League with relegation on the final day of last season and will be looking to bounce back at the first time of asking.
20-08-2012 - Nottingham Forest head to Huddersfield Town on Tuesday night for their first of two away games this week, as the new npower Championship season springs into life. Sean O’Driscoll takes his team to Bolton on Friday night, but before then the Reds are the other side of the Pennines to face Simon Grayson’s side.
The game at the newly-named John Smith’s Stadium – formerly the Galpharm Stadium – comes just three days after Forest began the league campaign with a hard-fought but well deserved 1-0 win at the City Ground against Bristol City.
Adlene Guedioura’s goal earned the three points, and there were strong performances from back to front, which included a very impressive league debut for new captain Danny Collins. Simon Cox came off the bench midway through the second half, which gave the Reds fresh impetus up front, and the £2 million man will be eager to make his first start in a red shirt on Tuesday.
Forest haven’t started a league season with two consecutive victories since the League One season of 2006-07, when they soared to the top of the table with 12 points from the first four games. Achieving that will be a big ask but O’Driscoll and his team should be confident ahead of the trip to West Yorkshire following a solid start.
Simon Grayson’s Terriers were beaten 1-0 at Cardiff last Friday night in their opening fixture, but the newly-promoted side would have taken encouragement from their outing. It took an added-time winner from Mark Hudson to earn the promotion contenders the three points, and the visitors looked dangerous at times, even without Jordan Rhodes. The highly coveted striker missed the game at the Cardiff City Stadium with a slight hamstring strain, but he should be back in contention to face Forest.
This will be the two sides’ first meeting since New Year’s Day 2008, when goals from Chris Cohen and Lewis McGugan gave Forest a 2-1 win in the League One clash at the City Ground. Victory this week would be their first at Huddersfield since 1997.
16-08-2012 - Nottingham Forest begin the new npower Championship season on Saturday when Bristol City are the first visitors to the City Ground.
To say it has been an eventful summer Trentside has been somewhat of an understatement. The club is now under new ownership, it has a new manager and no fewer than seven additions to the first team squad have come through the doors.
Adlene Guedioura has arrived from Wolves following a successful loan spell last season, and Sean O’Driscoll has brought in a brand new back four in Daniel Harding, Greg Halford, Daniel Ayala and Danny Collins. Simon Gillett and Simon Cox have also arrived, the latter for a reported fee of £2 million from West Bromwich Albion.
The Al-Hasawi family may not have delivered the ‘iconic’ manager they had sought upon buying the club, but in O’Driscoll they have appointed a shrewd operator, a manager that knows the Championship, and a man the supporters are generally happy with. His first task will be to gel his new squad together as quickly as possible and do something which few Forest managers have done in recent years; make a good start to the league campaign.
The Reds passed their first test of the season on Monday night, with a hard-fought 1-0 win at Fleetwood Town in the first round of the Capital One Cup. Although tougher tests will come, with all due respect to last season’s Conference champions, it was a decent result from a game where some may have fancied an upset beforehand.
Saturday sees a game between two clubs who will be desperate for improvement on last season. The fixture at the City Ground at last Easter was a dare-not-lose relegation six pointer, and although both teams eventually avoided the drop with games to spare, both O’Driscoll and particularly visiting boss Derek McInnes will be keen to get off to a good start to allay any fears that another season at the wrong end could follow.
Opening day fixtures haven’t been too kind to Forest in recent years, and all at the City Ground will be desperate to put that right. Their last first-day win, in fact their last goal, came in 2006 against Bradford City in League One. Since then, there has been a 1-0 defeat at Burnley and no less than four goalless draws. An improvement on those results would be a great way to get the new regime off and running.
14-07-2012 - Following the Al–Hawasi takeover of Nottingham Forest, the dealings of Notts County have firmly taken a back seat in the media. However, Notts County and Keith Curle have been remarkably busy over the last two weeks.
Following Dean Leacock’s departure from Leyton Orient, Notts County snapped up the 28 year old defender on a free transfer, signing a two year contract. The move to Notts County appears to come as a welcome relief for Leacock who looks to have become disillusioned with football, following his quote, “It’s just about getting my career back on track and hopefully smiling again and playing football.” Let’s hope that Dean can find the enjoyment of playing football he is looking for at Meadow Lane, and most importantly propel County to promotion this season.
Adding to the ever growing squad, Jamal Campbell – Ryce joins on a 2 year deal following his release from Bristol City. Curle has also added Joss Labadie and Manny Smith to his side. Labadie, midfielder, joins after his release from Tranmere, whereas central defender Manny Smith joins from Walsall after he turned down a contract renewal at the end of the season.
Yoann Arquin is the latest of Keith Curle’s signings after joining Notts from Hereford on a year’s contract with the option of a second year. Arquin noted it was the ambition of Keith Curle that lured him to the club, giving a sizable indication to County fans that anything other than promotion would be a bad result.
The amount of free signings made by Keith Curle shows a certain similarity to the squad built by Martin Allen last year. Considering the strong start made by Notts last season, it is possible to conceive that Curle’s new squad may have the same affect…well, we can live in hope.
05-06-2012 - Paul Anderson is today expected to complete a move to Blackpool, as Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cotterill continues to see his hands tied by the club's uncertain financial future.
Despite the Reds keen to offer the former Liverpool trainee a new deal – the financial uncertainty at the City Ground following the death of former owner Nigel Doughty means the club are in no position to offer the midfielder a new deal – with the Tangerines quick to profit from the hesitation.
The Championship play-off final losers’ interest in Anderson only came to light late last week – but manager Ian Holloway has acted quickly to agree a deal with the former Liverpool and Swansea man.
Anderson does not turn 24 until late July and would not be allowed to leave on a free transfer if Forest had offered him a deal that matches his current terms, but, because they have not been able to offer him anything, Anderson will be allowed to walk away for nothing.
Anderson cost £250,000 when he moved from Liverpool permanently in the summer of 2009, following a season-long loan at the City Ground.
Injury limited his impact last season, when he made only 19 first team appearances. But, prior to that, he had played an integral role in two successive top-six finishes with the Reds. His departure will leave Cotterill with another hole to fill in his squad – although Anderson is unlikely to be the last player to depart on a free-transfer
28-05-2012 - Steve Cotterill has stressed today his desire to keep Paul Anderson at Nottingham Forest with the winnger’s contract due to expire in the next couple of weeks.
Despite being a key man in two successive play-off pushes, Anderson played only a peripheral role last season, as he struggled with injuries, most recently a thigh strain but it is understood that manager Cotterill does plan to offer the former Liverpool and Swansea man a new deal.
Cotterill has been unable to offer skipper Luke Chambers fresh terms because of the continued financial uncertainty and the defender has been linked with several of the Reds' Championship rivals in the meantime, as clubs look to pick up the experienced defender on a free transfer, but it has now become clear that negotiations with Anderson have also only been delayed by the club's continued search for new owners.
Cotterill has not yet been given a budget to work with, as the estate of former chairman Nigel Doughty continue in their efforts to sell Forest, and, while that is having an impact on his efforts to rebuild a squad that currently only has one senior defender under contract for the coming season, it is also limiting his attempts to retain his current players.
Garath McCleary and Joel Lynch were both offered new deals, with the winger opting to instead sign for Premier League Reading and Lynch still to make a decision after being offered a £7k a week package. With Anderson playing only a peripheral role in the club's survival bid, it was thought that the 23-year-old may be allowed to leave for nothing.
City Ground sources have indicated that Cotterill hopes to retain his services. As long as Anderson is offered the same terms as his current deal before the end of the month, the club would not be at risk of losing the player on a free transfer, as he is not yet 24, but that in itself could yet prove to be a stumbling block, with Cotterill likely to have to work to a strict budget if no takeover is completed in the coming weeks
17-05-2012 - Nottingham Forest are facing a fresh battle to hang on to fullback Chris Gunter, after Premier League Swansea tabled a £2m bid for the defender.
Having already lost influential midfielder Garath McCleary to Premiership new boys Reading yesterday, Reds fans will be hoping that the club are able to resist further offers for the clubs key players to ensure they are not facing a relegation battle again next season.
Gunter is the only experienced defender who is currently tied to the club next season, with Joel Lynch considering a new deal and skipper Luke Chambers yet to be offered a fresh contract and manager Steve Cotterill will not want to see the only remaining senior member of his back four allowed to leave without a fight.
However, Forest's resolve may be tested if Swansea return with an improved bid for the 22-year-old, who they paid £1.75m for when he joined from Tottenham in 2009.
01-05-2012 - Steve Cotterill has admitted today that his summer transfer wish list includes all of the loan signings he brought to Nottingham Forest, but the Reds boss concedes that his priority is to build a back four for next season to ensure they have a proper foundation on which to construct a better campaign in the Championship and that will remain his priority over the summer.
Cotterill has been particularly impressed by the impact of Wolves midfielder Adlene Guedioura, who received a standing ovation from the Forest fans when he was substituted in the final game of the season, against Portsmouth on Saturday.
But, while he would love to land the Algerian international on a permanent basis, Cotterill also wants to address the lack of cover in the back four as a matter of urgency, which means he will be paying equal attention to trying to bring the likes of George Elokobi, Greg Cunningham, Danny Higginbotham and Scott Wootton back to the club.
"Adlene has been huge. All the loan players have come in and played a part. Some have played a bigger part than others, but that is probably more to do with the minutes they have had on the pitch," said Cotterill. “All the loan players paid off for us, which is a credit to them. So it would be nice if we could start next season with what we have finished with, in terms of the squad. That would give us a base. But that is a big if. There is a lot of talking to come. Hopefully, things will turn out positively. Getting Adlene would be a good start for us."
But, while he wants to strengthen all areas of the team, Cotterill emphasised the fact that his back four is the priority. "We need people at the other end of the pitch who can defend for us. That is the starting point," he said. "If we can get some good defenders in and re-sign some of the defenders we've got, that would be good”.