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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Forest Preview

Not sure I have the stomach for a football match after reading about more barbarism from Gaza as the Israelis seek to defend themselves from those pesky Palestinians locked up in Gaza prison. Home made rockets specially dragged through tunnels are no joke and have reportedly killed two Israelis so far but if everyone applied the Israeli mode of punishment in their attempts "to protect themselves" with over 700 Palestinians now dead then Parky can expect to hung, drawn and quartered and left hanging from the four corners of the ground if that win does not arrive this weekend.
So in an attempt to return to civilisation we can look forward to a mundane football match where, although we may hope to see a little heated football, we can all rest assured that, knowing Charlton, bloodshed will be at a minimum.
But as for that win that is needed so badly before we finally notch up 17 League games without a win, its a bit tough on us that a revitalized Forest are our next opponents. With new manager Billy Davies on board they have now cleared the bottom three hurdle and arrive at the Valley with an unbeaten run of 8 away games with their last away defeat back in October. And they appear to be getting better.
After losing all of their first 6 away games in the fizzies they finally took their first away points with a 2-1 win at Sainburys on October 28th with midfielder Matt Thornhill scoring his first goal of the season with an 81st minute winner. Since then, rather oddly, they have remained unbeaten away from the City Ground. Four consecutive draws at Coventry, Doncaster, Bristol City and Derby after the Palarse victory have now been eclipsed by three successive victories with an impressive 3-0 FA Cup win at the home of Man. City last weekend preceded by a 3-2 at Norwich and before that a 2-0 win at Southampton.
Form Guide With three wins and three draws in the last 8 Forest are climbing away from trouble and are now 5 points in front of us. And perhaps the really bad news is that the last time they failed to score away from home was in the 0-1 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday on 30th Sept.

DangerMen! This week its men in the plural because there's no less than three players battling out for the two striker spots. The choice is from top goalscorer, number 10, 8 goal Robert Earnshaw, but he and new manager Davies were at Derby together and Earnshaw was not exactly the bosses' favorite getting only two games in three months so perhaps we had better switch our attention to number 16, 20 year old Joe Garner, bought in the summer for 1.14 M and currently on 6 goals. Third on goals is the 6ft number 9, Nathan Tyson, who Parky should remember from his Reading days as Tyson was a member of their youth academy and although all three scored last weekend against Man. City, it was Earnshaw and Tyson that started the game with youngster Garney on the bench.

What's Their Secret? You don't want to concede first against Forest because they are one of only 7 fizzy teams that have not lost after going in front whereas the Addicks have now lost 5 games after scoring first with only Watford anywhere nearly as bad as us. But in true Jekyll and Hyde fashion, Forest are also one of only 7 teams, us included, that have never won after going behind. So the plan for Saturday has to be to score first no matter what.

What're They saying? New signing Graeme Murty has been singing the bosses' praises after signing this week. Seems he played with Parky at Reading and was greatly impressed by his application at a time when Parkinson was Reading captain.
History Along with Coventry, Forest are one of the teams in the fizzies that we have played the least, just 31 league games. We have the edge with 11 wins and 10 defeats with 10 draws. But they have made a habit of winning at the Valley and have won 4 out of the last 8 League games going back 22 years although their last win was in 1994.

Team News Skipper Mark Hudson was not risked against Norwich and will hopefully return whereas Nicky Bailey will be definitely missing because of the accumulated cautions rule. Added to that there's the departure of Bouazza to Birmingham via Fulham just when he is perhaps most needed, although Parky does take the heat off the problem by saying "I don't want any disaffected players around the building."
There is at least one new face in the building, as Parky likes to say. Graeme Murty, Reading captain, although he can't get a game there after injury, arrives on a short one month loan, presumably to test the waters but to add much needed fighting spirit. He can play on the right of midfield as well as right-back but expect Parky to use Murty's experience to replace one of the younger players, sorry Yassin. A return to a 4-4-2 formation has been asked by many but this is a game demanding our strongest players and Parky is going to need to use every bit of his experience to beat this lot.
Expect Hudson to have recovered from his reported ankle and knee niggles and join Fortune and McEveley in defence.
After vying for last weekend's MOM, both Holland and Shelvey should play in midfield with Sam out wide while the absence of Bailey should see the return of Semedo. Up front we'll surely see Burton continue although Andy Gray may be pressing for inclusion against his old club.
Elliot; Murty, Hudson, Fortune, McEveley; Sam, Semedo, Holland, Shelvey, Basey; Burton.
Subs; Randolph, Youga, Todorov, Gray, Waghorn
Verdict Back in the barmy days of summer when we were all dreaming of the forthcoming Fortress Valley season, not a single one of the 37 or so forecasters on CAFC Picks foresaw a defeat in this game. A few draws were forecast, but not a single loss. I wonder how many of them, me included, would like to change their minds right now because a defeat would appear more than likely. In fact there's more chance of the Americans voting against the Israelis in any United Nations resolution than there is of us winning. But this is the freaky game of football and if Derby can win at Manure then...................


Anonymous said...

I really like this blog and am a regular reader, even occasionally posting a comment. The reason for doing so this time is simply to say that I'm in full agreement with your thinly disguised perspective on what the Israelis are doing in the Gaza. However, whilst I also think Forest start favourites for Saturday, we have more chance of winning than there is of the US doing the right thing re Israel I'm afraid.

nelson said...

Rather timely then to see yet another abstention by the US in yet another UN Resolution calling on Israeli to stop doing something. No doubt pleading, in secret of course, to be allowed the weekend in which to reach the round thousand dead bodies. As for the football, a nice clean diversion can't come quick enough.

Thomas Rooney said...

Decent site you have here. Really good. Would you be able to email me when you get the chance?