A lot is made in football of making your home ‘a fortress’.

If nobody fancies a trip to your part of the world, then half of the battle is already won.

Think back to the days when Sir Alex Ferguson ruled the roost at Manchester United and Old Trafford was almost impenetrable.

Stamford Bridge during Jose Mourinho’s first spell at Chelsea and European nights for Liverpool at Anfield tick a similar box.

The City Ground has been such a venue in the past.

Few relished meetings with Brian Clough’s all-conquering side in the late 70s and early 80s – home or away.

Success in the modern era has also been built in familiar surroundings.

In 2002/03, en route to the play-offs, Forest suffered just two defeats in front of their own supporters.


(Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

Just three setbacks were suffered in 2009/10 and two the following season.

Can the Reds rekindle that spark this term? Ben Osborn seems to think they can.

A home-grown talent has said on the club’s official website: “It is always going to be tight; teams fear coming to The City Ground now so we just have to try and break them down and get the results.”

He has gone on to say of Forest’s ambition: “Everyone wants to get promoted. We are Nottingham Forest; that is what the aim is and if you are a part of that then that is the goal.

“It is definitely achievable. You have seen recently with Norwich and Leeds slipping up in recent games that there isn’t a really strong contender to be a definite to go up.

“We just have to stay in and around it and have a bit of a better second half of the season than we have done before.”

By the turn of the calendar year, Forest had suffered five defeats in 25 outings.

Three of those came at the City Ground – with back-to-back reversals suffered against Preston and QPR.


The New Year was opened in style, though, with a thrilling 4-2 victory over Leeds and that result needs to be built upon.

Osborn may believe that opponents fear a trip to Nottingham, but is that really the case?

Only six sides have mustered fewer goals on home soil than the 17 Forest have managed so far – and none of those sit above them in the table.

To counter that, just two rivals boast a better defensive record – with the Reds breached just 12 times to date.

To this point, Aitor Karanka’s side have been more frustrating to face than fearsome.

That can, of course, all change.

Three of the Reds’ next five games are set to be staged at the City Ground, with the opportunity there to put down a marker.

If Forest can flex their muscles, particularly on the banks of the Trent, then it may be that another promotion push can be pieced together in front of packed houses that nobody wants to visit.

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