December reflects another inconsistent one for Forest, a defeat at home, followed by a much more convincing three points against Burnley, and a hard earned draw at Brighton.
Two clean sheets in a row gives us promise as we head towards the three games in a week facing us in this tough Christmas schedule. Starting with a resurgent Watford side away this weekend, but, what type of Forest side may be facing the Hornets in the return fixture come January 26th at The City Ground?
We have been pleasantly surprised by our Kuwaiti owners up to yet, they are clearly trusting their cash with Mr O’Driscoll. Bringing in some top names on loan such as Jenas and Hutton, however I personally would like to see permanent signings in this window if any, young hungry players without an ounce of fear. Yes, Thomas Ince would be perfect please. Unfortunately, the winger is bound for the Premiership most surely, but I firmly believe we lack that spark of pace going forward to really frighten these back lines.
So just who would you choose to strengthen our squad in January and where? Sean has already mentioned he will be looking for width and therefore widen our options a bit further. I think however many come in, there will be sure enough many that leave. McGoldrick, however well he’s playing, would still go for me, we have more ambition than him these days. Derbyshire, I would pay to leave us, Greening and Tudgay may move on permanent deals, as may Miller. Coppinger may well go back, and certainly Sam Hutchinson seems an utter waste on our wage bill. Findley may stay as back up for the three strikers we have I suspect. And if rumours are to be believed, then McGugan may find himself victim of more January speculation with Fulham poised to swoop, are we ready to lose him yet? After all these years I’m still undecided with Lewis, he’s one of those players.
Another one that hasn’t quite impressed me enough yet would be captain Danny Collins, despite being solid I find him inconsistent and error prone. He just seems to me an ‘Ok’ Championship centre half. I take the point of there not being many good centre backs available these days and I hope he improves don’t get me wrong, but I prefer Daniel Ayala personally. If we could entice a certain James Tomkins down Trentside that would be perfect, although probably still a tad too ambitious at this early stage. That being said, we have got a pretty decent clean sheets record and seem to be improving each month at the back, long may that continue.
If I was Sean O’Driscoll I wouldn’t delve into the market at all much. Strengthen with wide players to give us an alternative is a clear motive of his. The manager wants us to be ‘fluid’ and ‘unpredictable’, I for one trust his plan of action. Considering how we left last season, and the chaos in the summer, O’Driscoll has done a very underrated job so far. Bringing all those new faces together is one thing, getting them all to play in a cohesive manner is an altogether different job.
So looking at the squad of players we have in front of us right now, I think and hope more will leave rather than enter the doors at Forest. Admittedly we need a couple or three more players to add a bit more strength in depth, and to maybe extend certain loan deals or buy permanently, but it would be refreshing to see the dead wood leave and our wage bill looking less festively plump. I believe adding too many players in a short space of time again will only hinder us, the group is only just starting to look like a group and its coming together nicely for us heading into the new year. I say don’t get carried away.