OPINION: Nottingham Forest fight is pleasing but defence needs to be sorted
Given that a trip to the City Ground with my old man usually results in Forest losing, you can imagine how enthusiastic I was when he called on Saturday morning to inform me of his attendance for the visit of Sheffield United.
Nottingham Forest themselves were clearly sick of losing in front of my luckless dad and by beating an in-form Sheffield United by two goals to one they put to bed a few recent demons to ease some of the pressure on Mark Warburton and his under-fire players.
The most pleasing aspect of the win for me was the character that Warburton’s side showed after conceding a goal just three minutes into the contest.
Goals from Jason Cummings and Kieran Dowell ensured that Forest went for their half-time refreshments in the lead and it was great to see such a positive response after an early setback.
The football that the Reds are trying to play is still very much a work in progress but if the team can show that level of performance more often than not then Warburton’s men will pick up points.
As far as standout individuals go against the Blades, Cummings and Dowell were both excellent, whilst I reserve special praise for left-back Armand Traore who continues to silence his critics.
The Frenchman has started this season in quality form and after an injury stricken maiden campaign at the City Ground he is starting to prove his doubters wrong, which is handy considering he is the only real option that the Reds have at left-back.
It was particularly impressive to hear the City Ground in fine voice on Saturday and I tend to believe that the supporters who attend games regularly are genuinely behind Warburton and his team.
Sheffield United were a good footballing side and after conceding so early on it would have been easy for a young Forest side to capitulate completely and find themselves on the wrong end of a good hiding. Of course, that wasn’t the case and the roar around the stadium at the final whistle indicated a sense of relief as much as jubilance among supporters.
What people must remember is that this team is still young, a little raw and inevitably they will suffer setbacks during a period of stabilisation for the football club.
If the supporters remain onside and keep buying into the project that the Forest boss is trying to implement on the pitch then over time we will see a drastic improvement in the team’s fortunes.
After years of boardroom mismanagement and on the field struggles, Warburton will need longer than a few months to rectify the situation and certainly more than just one transfer window.
I have said during this mini slump that the Reds would be foolish to even consider relieving the Forest boss of his duties and it was nice to see the team playing for him during Saturday’s victory.
The Reds travel to Pride Park to face Derby County in two weeks and there is a real sense that defensively we will need to be much better if we are to get anything from our fierce rivals.
With Forest boasting goals from all over the pitch it really is becoming critical that the team sorts out its defensive frailties. Indeed, the game at Pride Park would represent a timely game in which to keep our first clean sheet since the opening game of the campaign.