Nottingham Forest Preview
by, 12-11-2010 at 09:38 PM (237 Views)
Saturday 13th November 2010
Npower Football League Championship
The City Ground
Referee: A D’Urso
Nottingham Forest (11th) V Queens Park Rangers (1st)
By The Godfather
Despite having to finish the match with ten men yet again, Queens Park Rangers produced a superb fightback, with Tommy Smith’s late penalty gaining the Rs a valuable point at Portsmouth. Once again, the referee was very poor indeed and, unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the officiating is going to improve this Saturday against Nottingham Forest. Mr D’Urso is the man in charge, someone who has harshly sent off a number of Super Hoops players in the past.
Matthew Connolly and Bradley Orr are both suspended for this match, leaving Neil Warnock with defensive problems. I am concerned that Forest will capitalise upon this. Perhaps Clint Hill will move into a central defensive position, with Gary Borrowdale taking up the left-back role. Despite this, I am sure that Queens Park Rangers will provide a very stern test for the club with the best home record in the division. It is going to be an entertaining encounter between two sides that favour an attractive style of play.
Manager: Billy Davies
Season 2009-10 finish: 3rd position.
On paper, Nottingham Forest have one of the strongest squads in the Championship. However, like they did last season, the Reds have not started the campaign particularly strongly. On a number of occasions this season, Billy Davies has questioned the commitment of the Board, since the club has recently displayed a reluctance to purchase new players. However, Forest are starting to make progress on the field, beating Midlands rivals, Coventry, on Tuesday. There is no doubt that supporters will be expecting Davies’ men to push for promotion during the latter half of the campaign.
Queens Park Rangers supporters will be particularly interested in the performances of former Loftus Road favourites, Lee Camp and Dexter Blackstock, who are both first team regulars at Nottingham Forest. I did not rate either player particularly highly during their spells at QPR, but generally they were popular amongst the fanbase.
Men to watch
Nottingham Forest have several attacking options. Robert Earnshaw, a striker who has been very successful in this division for many years, could retain his position. The 29 year-old scored 86 goals in 183 appearances for Cardiff in a seven-year spell, before enjoying successful periods with West Brom and Norwich. He signed for Forest in 2008 and has since netted 30 times in 72 starts. A Welsh international forward, Earnshaw could pose a threat on Saturday afternoon.
As already mentioned, Dexter Blackstock could also be involved against his former club. The 24 year-old was never a prolific scorer at Loftus Road, but usually proved to be a thorn in opponents’ sides with his aerial ability. He joined Forest in 2009 and has since scored 17 goals in 49 appearances. Let’s hope he doesn’t prove a point against Rangers. In addition, Billy Davies has the pacey Nathan Tyson at his disposal, a 28 year-old forward who is capable of reaping success in the Championship.
In midfield, Davies has the in-form Lewis McGugan available, who recently scored a sensational long-range goal against Watford. Picking up the ball around 40 yards out, he sent it looping over Scott Loach and into the back of the net. At the age of only 22, he has already made over 100 starts for the Reds. He is clearly a very talented individual, who must be marked closely by Warnock’s men.
Alongside McGugan, Chris Cohen is likely to keep his starting position. The 23 year-old made a crucial contribution last season, providing the team with creativity and stability in the middle of the park. Cohen lists Yeovil Town and West Ham United as his former clubs.
In goal, former QPR fans’ favourite, Lee Camp, will probably retain the goalkeeping place. The 26 year-old is no doubt a superb shot-stopper, but I always felt that he was a little vulnerable when dealing with high balls into the penalty area. Perhaps Warnock’s men can exploit this weakness on Saturday afternoon.
January 2010 – Mick Harford’s men suffered an embarrassing defeat at the hands of promotion candidates, Nottingham Forest, at the City Ground. Robert Earnshaw put the home team two-nil up within twenty-five minutes, before Blackstock converted a penalty to make it three before half time. More comical defending allowed Chris Cohen and James Perch to make it five in the second half.
QPR Manager, Mick Harford: "That kind of performance is not acceptable and they know that. We gave away three easy goals and never had a shot on target in the first half - and for a QPR side that is a sin because we have some very good players. We knew it would be tough. They have some very good players and we couldn't deal with what they threw at us."
Nottingham Forest 5-0 Queens Park Rangers
QPR Team News
QPR are without Matthew Connolly and Bradley Orr due to suspension. Heidar Helguson is still struggling with a shoulder problem. Mikele Leigertwood, meanwhile, has been on international duty with Antigua and may not be available. Therefore, Gary Borrowdale could be called upon. Lee Cook and Peter Ramage remain long-term absentees.
Queens Park Rangers have never won at the City Ground and Nottingham Forest will certainly fancy their chances against a weakened defence. However, team morale will be high in the Rs camp and I suspect Warnock will head to Nottingham confident of picking up a decent result. In my view, the two sides are quite even on paper and therefore I am going to predict a draw, although QPR are more than capable of winning the fixture.
Nottingham Forest 1-1 Queens Park Rangers