After a good start, things haven't gone quite so smoothly for Forest over the last few weeks. Here's what our Rich made of it all
Ay up youth
In such a short amount of time since we last spoke, it seems like a world has turned upside down at the City Ground. As we left it we had just signed Adam Federici in the transfer window, and were sitting pretty in the playoff places looking like decent outside bets at going up. Fast forward to now, and we sit 16th and falling, with only a single victory in 7 games across all competitions. To make matters worse, we've not drawn a single game so far this season.
Six league losses and four victories see us sat on 12 points in 16th place. An equidistant six points from the relegation zone and playoff places.
Now, I'm not usually one for league position this early into the season (unless we happen to be at the top!), so we have to take it with a pinch of salt. The bad run of games we've had has seen us lose to Leeds and Wolves, both among the favourites for promotion along with a very strong Sheffield Wednesday side, and the free spending of Aston Villa. It is probably of little coincidence that getting hammered 5-1 at Premier League Champions Chelsea has knocked our confidence, and perhaps with hindsight wasn't the ideal tie for a fledgling squad of ambitious young players.
Still, not much we can do about results past, only what's coming up. The key talk at the moment seems to be around the manager. Strangely, there appears to be a lot more noise around the social channels lamenting the dissenting voices calling for his head than there are actually said lamenting voices. It seems that most folk want to give Warburton time, and are voicing that opinion by actively shouting down the voices that are not there. I don't think, as a unit of supporters, Warburton has reached the point for fans to turn on him yet.
Yes, some people get frustrated with his insistence on the style of play; yes, some people are frustrated that we've not sorted out the goalkeeper situation or the defensive errors; and yes, some people are critical of the instruction to the defence to be ball players when it is clear they aren't quite up to the task. However, Mark Warburton has a footballing philosophy. Indeed it's a philosophy that was often requited from the Great Man during the last ten years of abysmal play, that Forest are a side who like to play the ball around. God didn't put grass in the sky etc. We've cried out for a philosophy for so long, that when we get a manager in who wants to stick to it we shouldn't even begin to question whether his time is coming after the first ten games of the season.
We do need to try and add to the squad, and we do need to develop the players we have, but we don't need many signings. We don't need big money signings, we need players like McKay and Cummings to come in as bargain buys that support talent like Worrall and Brereton. If we stick with the manager, the philosophy, and the development then we won't get promoted this season. We probably won't get promoted next season either. But we will be building towards it, and will hopefully have built a squad and style of play capable of having a decent tilt at the Premier League. If the result at Chelsea told us anything it's that promotion too soon could be as catastrophic as relegation was. We need to build slowly and surely, adding in players who complement the style of play not the other way round.
So, with that all in mind what do we have on the horizon? It seems as though Sky just want to show us every week at the moment, with the Leeds, Sheff Wed, and Villa games all getting the Sky treatment.
The next two games both have a bit of needle to them. Sheffield United at home is always a bit of a ding dong that brings back painful playoff memories. It'd be good to go into the international break on the back of three points as we return from it with a trip up the A5-2 to Derby.
The Derby is always unpredictable really. Form goes out the window, which could be a blessing for us and the grit and determination of the team comes through. There's been some funny old results with our sheep affiliated foes over the last few years, few better than the 2-1 away win courtesy of an injury time Ben Osborn goal that gave Psycho a short stay of execution.
At this point I think 6 points from the next two games would be important to keep us from sliding into a potential relegation battle again, but as long as we're playing the game the right way and continuing to see progress then we'll be ok.
I'll see thee.
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