Pre-Forest Build Up
Around this time last year I remember writing a piece in the build-up to the Forest match. The Rams had had an awful Christmas, followed by a 1-4 defeat to Scunthorpe and a couple of scrappy, better results. Forest were on the crest of a wave, unbeaten away all season and had recently been hammered West Brom away. I was dreading the game and would have taken a point any day.
A year on and we have a similar scenario but with one difference. Last year, we were about to embark on a run which made us look invincible but we’ve already had one of those. Forest meanwhile were about to embark on a decidedly dodgy patch – but they have also already had one of those. The respective form trajectories of both teams don’t bode well for us at all. Like last year, I’ll be glad when the games over and I’d happily take a point and finally put all the Forest business behind us. Just as their season imploded after a defeat at Pride Park last season, we don’t want the City Ground to haunt us until May.
There’s no doubt The Rams have to sort a few things out before Saturday and here’s some of the issues:
- I’m no fan if Leacock but I think we have to bring him off the naughty step. He’s had the whole season to make the position his own and hasn’t but he is currently our best option, if not only for the knock-on effect of playing Brayford and Green in their more effective positions.
- On the subject of Green, Clough recently referred to him as “our Republic of Ireland international” and he regularly keeps Premier League players out the Ireland team. At the moment he is a mediocre Championship right-back. One way or another, he needs to become a main man again.
- Despite his goals ratio and pro-zone stats, Chris Porter is too often bullied out of matches by big defenders when playing lone striker. We can’t let Wes Morgan eat him alive on Saturday. Whether a new striker (Waghorn) will start alongside or instead of Ports remains to be seen.
- The noises are that Addison could play in a destroyer role on Saturday – great, I think we’ve been lacking that at times this season. Let’s hope he doesn’t get over-excited as he might well do!
- Why not confuse Forest’s scouting reports and start with Martin and Croft on the flanks on Saturday? – the only problem is we don’t have two fit centre-forwards for a 442! (not serious on this one by the way, although I’m sure they wouldn’t have served us badly in recent weeks).
Last year I think I signed off prophetically with something like “Hulse is due a goal” amongst other predictions and hopes. Here’s a few for this weekend: Porter needs to score, otherwise his “goal ratio” will start to lose its currency. Addison will definitely half-decapitate someone, let’s hope this doesn’t get him into trouble and curtail his game too early (Gunter is especially proficient at
cheating simulation). Bit of magic from Commons and/or Bueno is due. A dominant Barker performance is also due.