Nottingham Forest preview: Time for squad to get back to basics

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NOTTS Youth League round-up.

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Nottingham Forest take on Wigan Athletic at the City Ground this evening looking to secure their first three points at home since early November.

A new man will enter the home dugout in the shape of Dougie Freedman and it is vital he gets a welcoming reception from the home faithful.

Forest secured a tremendous 3-2 victory away at Brighton & Hove Albion last Saturday and pretty much everything Freedman has said since he came through the door last Sunday has been encouraging to hear.

Some of the comments take on a significant indication of the things that were so wrong under the ill-fated Psycho era, and one in particular.

“It is time to put square pegs back in square holes.” Said Freedman after Saturday’s game.

I totally agree with this statement and for some time now we have been over-complicating things when it comes to team selection.

We have arguably the best squad – on paper – in the division, so why on earth the previous regime asked players to play in unfamiliar positions when not pre-determined because of injuries or suspensions is beyond me.

Look at the last month under the Pearce tenure. We have Henri Lansbury who is better linking up with the front players, playing defensive midfield and Robert Tesche who is better breaking play up from in front of the back four, playing behind the strikers. How does that even make logical sense to anyone?

If we go back to the start of the season we had Danny Fox playing centre back, and let’s be clear Fox is a very ordinary left back never mind playing at the heart of defence.

I can only imagine the look on poor Danny Collins’ dejected face when the team went up on Friday evening when he saw that despite being the only fit, out-and-out centre half at the club, he wasn’t being selected at the expense of a left-back!

Sticking with Collins and I have to say that despite what anyone says about his ability as a central defender, his professionalism is clearly admirable.

Collins has featured on the bench in one league game and two Capital One Cup appearances this season but has never made it on to the pitch.

Instead of sulking he has kept himself in shape and made sure that should he get a reprieve he is fit and raring to go and Freedman offered him just that on Saturday.

Collins partnered Jack Hobbs at the heart of defence and the emotion which came out when he netted the equaliser was great to see. It is nice to see a player who truly recognises what playing for a club with the stature and the fan base of Nottingham Forest is all about. I think the little cupping of the ear gesture was probably aimed at some of our ‘boo-boys’ (and girls!), who were no doubt slating the inclusion of the former Sunderland man in the team, so for that Danny, I salute you!

Wigan brings with it a whole new kettle of fish. You could say that Malky Mackay’s men who currently sit second-bottom in the Championship are in a false league position given the magnitude of the squad they have.

As a club they were playing Premier League football just two seasons ago and Wednesday night’s game will represent a stern test for Freedman in his first home game in charge.

I think it was probably the Wigan game at the City Ground last season where the wheels began to fall from Billy Davies’ bandwagon after a 4-1 drubbing, so maybe some of the players who were part of that will have retribution in mind.

I for one am looking forward to the Freedman era he appears to understand the Nottingham Forest values having played for the club and a very early assessment would indicate he knows what he is doing when it comes to the tactical side of the game.

Hopefully from now until the end of the season the future can be bright and we can get back to winning some games of football and finish the season on a high to leave us casting an optimistic eye to the future.