Three days until the season kicks off, Seat Pitch talks to fans about their hopes and fears for the season ahead. Third in the series is 18-year-old Christian Brown.
1. Were you pleased with the appointment of Steve McClaren?
Initially, I was furious. I was (and still am) a big, big fan of Billy Davies and what he achieved here, so when I found out he was sacked I was less than delighted. Obviously when you hear Steve McClaren’s name, you think of England, and I still remember hurling expletives at a TV screen when Croatia got their third on that Wembley night. Looking back now, I may have been a bit too critical when I first heard the news. What he did at Middlesbrough and Twente could be classed as miracles. Here’s hoping he adds Forest to that list.
2. How do you think the squad could be improved?
Primarily, a left-back, a right-winger and a complete centre-forward. What I mean by complete centre-forward is someone who can hold the ball up, flick it on, someone with pace and, of course, someone who can finish. Unfortunately, these don’t come cheaply and, with our board, you get the feeling that we won’t get one. Secondly, a cover centre-back, a cover left-back and maybe another striker. Who’d have thought we needed more strikers this time last year?!
3. Who will be our most important player this season? And which youth player do you think will make a breakthrough?
As it stands, we aren’t going to score many goals up front. Which leaves the midfield. I think we’re going to be relying a lot on Lewis McGugan again, however I think the most important player this season will be former hero Andy Reid. Someone other than McGugan who can conjure up pieces of magic from seemingly nothing situations can only help us. I think everyone expected Lascelles to be the man who breaks through, what with the Arsenal bid and all, but pre-season suggests Keiron Freeman will do it instead.
4. Who do you think will be the main rivals for promotion? And which team do you expect to be the surprise package this season?
West Ham and Leicester aside, who we all assume will be the top two — whether it be by already having a nucleus of a Premier League team or by lavishly spending money — I think Cardiff will be challenging again. The acquisition of our former number 10 Robbie Earnshaw will help, along with the fact that new manager Malky Mackay has actually been allowed to bring his own team in. I also expect Ipswich to be in the top six as well and, as for the surprise package, I’ll go for Southampton.
5. What would you most like to happen this season?
Promotion. I don’t care how we do it, whether it’s a winner in the 94th minute against Portsmouth (again) on the final day of the season, just so long as we go up. With the Financial Fair Play rules kicking in soon, teams who go down from the Premier League will be back up again straight away with parachute payments, so this has to be our year. I’d also like to see us beat Leeds 1-0 at Elland Road, with Chris Cohen getting the winner and celebrating like a mad man in front of Simon Grayson. Oh, and six points from Derby again!
6. What won’t happen this season?
Derby winning the league… Regarding Forest though, as much as I’d like not to rule anything out, I don’t see how we can compete for the top two places this year. It’ll take something pretty special from Forest to manage to do it, so the best I’m aiming for is the play-offs — as infuriating as that may be. Maybe this group of players can make it third time lucky, even without Davies. I honestly hope I’m proven wrong, and we storm the league by 15 points, but you can’t realistically see it.
7. Finally, where do you expect us to finish in the league?
As I said, I can’t see us getting automatic. But with the team we’ve got, I can see us getting to the play-offs. Greening’s 50 times the player McKenna is, so that will already be a huge determining factor in our season. If Cohen can hold his own at left-back as part of an already impressive defence, we won’t ship many. It’s just at the other end where we’ll have problems. I think the return of Dexter Blackstock, one leg or not, will be crucial to our campaign. The foundations are there, let’s just hope we build on them.
If you’d like to feature in a future Fans’ Preview, send us an email:
info [at] seatpitch.co.uk