Whenever a Forest game hovers into view and we start thinking about the MFW preview, our job is an easy one. “Contact Christian”. Simples. For those that don’t know, in his own words, Christian Brown is ‘Editor, festival goer, uncrushed saboteur & BleakhausBand bassist’. Luckily for us, he’s also a Forest aficionado….
Karanka – still in love?
Absolutely. I hope those who launched their toys out the pram early doors are now realising just how stupid they were to have next to no patience whatsoever. Speaking before our home game against QPR, we’ve lost three times and kept 10 clean sheets from 22 games – leaving us one point off the top six. There will be teams above us that lose their heads or go through ropey patches of form and the way we’re going about our business, we’ll be there to capitalise on that. Top six is very doable.
That incredible 5-5 with Villa – surely that doesn’t happen these days? (but it ostensibly did).
We conceded as many goals in that game than we had in our previous eight! Unbelievable match – will be one to look back on in many years to come. I’m just glad we got something out of it. I know we led four times, but to claim a draw from 5-4 down with 10 men away at Villa Park takes a ridiculous amount of grit and character. Thankfully we have both of those in abundance.
You’re very much in the pack. Will you make it (playoffs or auto – neither are impossible for you)?
I think playoffs are doable. Will we actually do it though? It’s very possible. For me, top two is out the equation unless we go on a monster run where we win eight in a row or something, but the leaps and bounds we’ve made from 12 months ago are colossal. I’d be extremely happy with play-offs and I think we could maybe surprise a few should we get there, too.
Which players are outstanding for you – I’ve sure picked one out for myself but I’d rather hear your opinion
Barring injury/suspension, Jack Colback and Claudio Yacob will pair up in the middle against Norwich and with very good reason. They essentially cover the back four with a blanket and protect them to a ridiculously high standard – take the recent game against our woolly neighbours. All the talk pre-match was about how Harry Wilson, Mason Mount and Tom Lawrence would shred us. Lawrence and Wilson did very little, while Mount was invisible. This is primarily down to the ground that both Colback and Yacob covered and we’re so, so grateful to have that level of steel there.
Otherwise, Joao Carvalho is still ripping up – you saw first hand how creative he can be at The City Ground – while Lewis Grabban is still being notably lethal in front of goal.
Oh, there’s also that bloke on the wing who’s better than Messi*…ain’t nobody like Joe Lolley.
*maybe a little bit of an exaggeration
Given it’s Boxing Day will your supporters manage to get to the game? It’s difficult enough for me and I’m only three miles away from the ground but there’s nowhere to park anywhere practically near it! Unless you want to give Norfolk County Council six quid for their car park which I refuse to do on principle. Me and my bad back will have to chance a long walk.
Yeah, I’ll be surprised if we don’t sell that end out – our attendances both home and away this year have been magnificent. A lack of parking won’t derail that! £6 is bloody excessive though – all about the JustPark life. At Boro, there’s a car park where it’s £1.70 for 10 hours or something ridiculous. I mean you’re guaranteed neck ache from that archaic footballing dinosaur Pulis’ style of play, but outstanding value all the same.
What will Forest do in the January window? Ours will all be outs if we can connive it. Apart from LB cover, we’re cool.
Despite reaching double figures for clean sheets, I think we’ll opt for another goalkeeper to give some competition to Costel Pantilimon. He’s become something of a scapegoat in recent weeks (apparently we need one all of the time…) and while he is a very good shot-stopper, his overall command of his area and distribution can be a bit suspect at times. Maybe added competition will do him some good.
Other than that, I’d love to see us go for a central midfielder who can provide some spark – Colback and Yacob are both absolutely outstanding as mentioned earlier, but when we’re at home against a team sitting deep and can afford some breathing space in the middle, having a player who can surge forward or pick someone out with a peach of a ball wouldn’t go amiss.
Obviously, after our chat, I wished Christian and his folks the very best for Christmas apart from the gift of points on Boxing Day. Wouldn’t it be great if two genuinely footballing sides could escape the Championship together!
Penney predicts: We’re still on the crest of that wave but knocks to Leitner and Buendia dictate that I will concur with Forest’s Christian and offer a 1-1 draw.
Andy assumes: Leitner and Buendia would be a loss for any Championship team, but not every Championship team can simply bring in Vrancic and Hernandez to replace them. 3-1 to City.
Gaz guesses: Well, given my propensity to pick the wrong score I’m tempted to go for the double-hex and predict a Forest win. But… I can’t, because I really believe we’ll edge it. 2-1 City.
Cookie concludes: Providing the players showed more restraint than me and are not ‘hanging’ to within an inch of their lives, there’s no reason why the run can’t continue. Expect Karanka to set up to frustrate but City to edge a tight one, 1-0.
Stew suspects: Tempting fate to say it, but Forest look vulnerable if an opponent gets at them the way we do. Despite the blow of losing Leitner, our spirit will still carry us. 2-1 City.
The oppo’s opinion: I’m going to plump for a 1-1 draw – I’ve noticed you’ve ridden your luck a bit at home recently (Millwall springs to mind) and I don’t think we’d be as careless holding a decent lead heading into stoppage time. That said, I can’t see you not scoring the way you are at present, but I think we can cause enough problems to nick one on the counter.
Siri says: City 4, Forest 2