Photo of a nippy looking City Ground, courtesy of @06riddle
It’s been a frustrating few days. Not that I take much notice of what they say, but players always go on about how a game on a Tuesday is great as it gives the players a chance to immediately put right a defeat on Saturday. Makes sense if you actually do it; bit crap if you lose both though.
Last night surprised me. On paper, Forest away is one of the toughest fixtures in the Championship. Things are a little odd round their gaff at the moment though (what with Billy Davies going mad), so I was sure once we’d taken the lead we’d do what we’ve done well so far this year and take the points. Perfect response to the Leeds defeat.
A mix of soft defending and unfortunate injuries has contrived to cause some grief in the last 2 games though, and suddenly Plan A doesn’t seem to be working all that well.
If we’re honest, Plan A was basically to play useless, but rely heavily on Clive Platt to give opposition defenders a torrid time, meaning we’d somehow come away with the win. With no Clive, we’re now in a position where our flexibility is coming into question.
I see it as an opportunity. Boothroyd’s right when he says we’re nowhere near a finished article. We’ve learned how to win games, and yes, that’s the most important thing. But can we adapt and become more than a bustling long ball team, now that we’re missing important pieces of that tactical jigsaw?
We created enough chances to get something out of the game last night, that’s for sure. But that was neither here-nor-there in the scheme of things; we didn’t win and didn’t play particularly well. We lacked any sort of ruthlessness. There wasn’t really a victory on any fronts.
My immediate reaction after the game was to check the table (it’s bloody important). Unbelievably, we were still in the play-off places. That we could lose consecutive games and only move down 2 places, is crazy, quite frankly. The league is so tight, you’ve got to see that as a stroke of luck. I know it’s only November, but the aim is to cement our place in the top 6. As I write this, Reading are beating Cardiff, knocking us down to 7th, so that might all be nonsense in a few minutes.
It all points to one thing. A win at Palace is a must. 3 defeats in a row is a nightmare when teams like Derby are on fire and pulling away from us. If we do lose on Saturday, a quick go on the BBC predictor puts us down to 12th. That’s really not what we need at this point in our development, not when the fans are finally starting to get back onside.