Sunday’s do-or-die match against Ipswich Town is impossible to predict for Nottingham Forest fans. But there are positives. And negatives, says Andrew Brookes
It’s going to be a long few days until Sunday, when Forest’s Championship fate will finally be settled. If you’re anything like me then your mind will be racing away, weighing up all of the possible things that could happen when we face Ipswich at the City Ground.
Predicting anything to do with Forest is fraught with danger, not least such a high stakes game such as this. There are reasons to be hopeful, and fearful, as the time ticks away until kick off.
If you’re confident, here are five things to bring you back down to earth:
1. It’s a big occasion. Kids For A Quid, Sky TV cameras and the sheer magnitude of the game all add together to make a recipe for disaster. This is a fragile Forest side that has been known to panic and on Sunday there’s plenty to panic about.
2. People think we’re too good to go down. Many people have thought, written and said that this team is ‘too good to go down’ this season. I remember that being said in Cloughie’s last season too. We learned then that there’s no such thing. This team has shown glimpses of style but not enough substance when it matters.
3. We lose to this type of team. While we’ve taken some big scalps on Trentside this season, Ipswich are exactly the sort of well-drilled outfit that has come away with all three points. See the Cardiff, Wolves, Barnsley and Blackburn games for evidence.
4. The momentum is with Blackburn. Blackburn have fought hard and they’ll be well up for making the most of the chance they’ve earned. We, on the other hand, are stumbling over the line after another poor season to continue the downward trajectory under Fawaz’s failed ownership. We also blew our big chances against Rovers at home and QPR away.
5. The case of the ex. What odds on a Luke Chambers or David McGoldrick goal proving crucial on Sunday?
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Really, it’s not. If, like me, you’re not overly confident and need something to cling on to, here’s five reasons why we might be alright after all:
1. Ipswich have a poor record at the City Ground. There are certainly worse final fixtures to have. The Tractor Boys haven’t won here since 1999, with five Forest wins and six draws in the 11 games since.
2. We have a better side than the last one to go down. The 2004-05 line-up away to QPR was: Gerrard, Curtis, Morgan, Taylor, Melville, Robertson, Evans, Powell, Gardner, Commons, Dobie. On top of that, the manager was Gary Megson. This current lot aren’t that bad right?
3. We’re at home. While our away form this season has been worthy of relegation (2 wins, 5 draws, 16 defeats) the home form (11 wins, 4 draws, 7 defeats) is mid-table fodder. We’ve shown we can do it in recent wins at home to Huddersfield and Reading – one more of those performances and we’ll be safe.
4. We have scored more goals. Our one goal advantage over Blackburn seems slender but we’ve scored nine more goals than Rovers, which will go in our favour if goal difference is level. If we win by one goal, they’ll have to win by three. Plus, if Birmingham draw and we win, we’ll definitely have a better goal difference than them.
5. Brentford are a good team. We’ve seen first hand what Brentford can do. Let’s hope they turn it on again to give their fans a good send off for the summer. Oh, and maybe they might fancy doing a certain former manager of theirs a favour?
How are those nerves now? Still bad? Me too…