Ladies and Gentlemen, we are back – so prepare yourselves for the biggest, most consistent comeback since Michael Dawson returned to the City Ground in the summer.
It’s been about two months since I wrote my last post and in that time, I have been keenly following Forest’s impressive progress in the Championship from Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and now, Australia.
Combatting the difficulties of time difference, cheap beer and WiFi slower than Danny Higginbotham, I have managed to stay well informed on Forest’s promising form in what looks to be one of the most competitive Championship seasons in recent years.
My last game before leaving, was a not so thrilling 1-0 win against Rotherham, who had parked a London, double decker in front of their goal mouth.
Since then, the style, chemistry and flair, which had been shown in doses at the City Ground and away from home, has started to spread into a virus, which teams are becoming incapable of treating.
It is an exciting time to be a Forest fan – the combination of Carvalho and Grabban is starting to really thrive, with both at the top end of assist and goal statistics for the league this season – add to that the wide threat of Lolley, Cash and Dias when he enters the fray.
First sign of this, was a remarkable showing against a resilient, aggressive, Pulis blueprint, Middlesbrough side – as well as the now, very familiar goal scoring combination of Lewis Grabban and Joe Lolley.
It was a game that brought me great pleasure, after convincing a local, Bangkok bar manager to put the game on the main screen.
Since then, on the whole and despite seemingly constant international breaks, Forest have managed to maintain a fantastic level of performance.
Excusing the Norwich game which followed after – it did not matter whether it was professional, regimental displays like that against Leeds – which I watched and scared off half of a hostel in Hanoi – or free flowing, attack minded football as was the case away at Bolton and Aston Villa most recently.
Although I was unable to watch the Sheffield United game, from what I heard, our performance was well managed and capable of stretching a well drilled Blades side, who were at the time top of the table.
The following Stoke game we again limited a side, full of experience at the highest level and were unfortunate not to come away with three points, particularly, based on the merits of the second half performance.
Although their league position suggests three points should be expected, Stoke a far tougher outfit than what their 13th place justifies – simply look at the saves of Jack Butland.
These are two teams, who will more than likely be there or thereabouts come the season finale and Forest, were easily better side in both matches, which occurred in the space of four days.
As for Wednesday night – or Thursday morning for me – against another promotion favourite in Villa – it was one of those rare games which deserves to be excused from defensive criticism and applauded for its sheer entertainment.
The attacking quartet were on a different level and were the main contributors in a game, more than worthy of advertising the most competitive league in the world.
Karanka will undoubtedly address the defensive mishaps in training, but for the side to continue showing fight and courage to grab another goal with ten men, and after falling behind for this time in the match, shows real endeavour.
We are now exercising the promotion candidate combination of resilience and grit, to grind out results, along with classy, cut throat showings against weaker sides – a consistency which has been lacking for years.
The depth which Karanka added in the summer is also proving to be invaluable to our continued success.
The injury to the faultless and committed Danny Fox seemed to be a huge blow, however Michael Dawson has re-established himself as a worthy replacement.
Claudio Yacob’s arrival raised a few eyebrows, including my own, due to the numbers already in our midfield, but he looks to be a fantastic signing also, with an especially impressive showing against Hull.
As the fixtures further condense in the run up to Christmas and beyond, it will be a chance for Forest to gather further, uninterrupted momentum.
It is often the teams that perform best over this crucial period that end up within the higher reaches of the table.
With a trip to the iPro stadium just on the horizon as well, there is further reason to entice me to stay up until the early hours, to watch the Reds continue their play off challenge and possibly beyond…
Picture Credit: Nottingham Forest