Often Partisan

GAMEDAY – Forest Away

It’s back to the Championship in double quick time with Blues making the short trek north to Nottingham to face Dougie Freedman’s Forest side hoping to bounce back from cup heartbreak against Bournemouth.


The Tricky Trees lie in fourteen place in the table, six places and eight points behind Blues. Their win against QPR in the FA Cup at the weekend followed three successive 1-1 draws with Freedman’s men not having lost since November 21 to Brentford.

Henri Lansbury is ruled out of the game against Blues and either Robert Tesche or on loan Gary Gardner could replace him in midfield.


Neal Eardley and David Cotterill with both definitely miss out for Blues, leaving Gary Rowett a little short on cover at the back and in wide areas. Tomasz Kuszczak, Jacques Maghoma and Clayton Donaldson should all return to the starting line up having been rested at the weekend; Paul Caddis will no doubt slot in at right back.

The big question is who will come onto the bench to replace Cotterill; the most likely is that Paul Robinson will giving Blues less cover in wide areas with the only other options being Charlee Adams – or even more unlikely Wes Thomas or Mitch Hancox.


Mark Brown takes control of this game, his 21st match of the season. In his previous 20 games he’s shown 57 yellow cards but is yet to send anyone off. His last game involving Blues was the 4-2 home win over Bristol City last September in which he booked five players including Cotterill and Jon Toral.

Suspension Watch

One red card (three match suspension served): James Vaughan

8 Yellow Cards: Maikel Kieftenbeld
5 Yellow Cards: Jonathan Grounds
4 Yellow Cards: David Davis, Stephen Gleeson and Paul Caddis
3 Yellow Cards: David Cotterill and Jon Toral
2 Yellow Cards: Jonathan Spector, Paul Robinson, Michael Morrison, James Vaughan and Neal Eardley
1 Yellow Card: Tomasz Kuszczak, Clayton Donaldson, Andy Shinnie, and Shane Lowry.

The cutoff date for 5 yellow cards to attract a suspension is November 30, 2015
The cutoff date for 10 yellow cards to attract a suspension is April 9, 2016

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66 Responses to “GAMEDAY – Forest Away”

  • Bluedad says:

    I agree with your reasoning but I feel he may start with Robinson, having Spector on the bench gives us a lot more options to cover for injury. I think this will be a tough game if I was a betting man I would back the draw but I just have this feeling that after that penalty miss Vaughan will snatch the winner. Maybe its just hoping or wishing for the guy to score.

    • Pods says:

      Yes i agree Bluedad.
      Nottingham Forest seem to have turned around their poor form and will be a formidable force to beat.
      But with the strength of character Gary Rowett has installed a draw may be the end result.
      Any news on the transfer front.


  • DoctorD says:

    Tight game, few or no goals. I go 0-0.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    These next two games are important. WIn them and we could be right up there in the play-offs again, lose and we could drop to halfway. Even two draws will take us past the 40 points mark, which is psychologically a good milestone for the players at this stage in the season.

    I have a good feeling about tonight though. I’m going for a 2-1 win to Blues. My team selection would be:

    Caddis Morrison Lowry Grounds
    Gleeson Kieftenbeld
    Solomon-Otabor Toral Maghoma

    Subs: Legzdins, Robinson, Spector, Davis, Shinnie, Vaughan, Brock-Madsen

    • KC says:

      With Cotts injured agree on this team. Worth giving Lowry a game . Previously unimpressive but he looked ok Saturday. Hope Grounds is awake !

    • Shirley Blue says:

      Robbo will start which is why he was rested on Saturday. Cant see much logic in starting Lowry ahead of him. We need to get our strongest side out tonight because there is a much better chance of three points tonight than against Derby on Saturday. I would be happy with three points from these next two games.
      VSO seemed to have a hamstring problem towards the end of the Bournemouth game which he was substituted for. If he wasn’t fit I would think Toral would go into wide right with Shinnie in the middle. Or leave Toral in the middle and put Vaughan wide (my preferred option).

      • StaffsBlue says:

        I just thought that after a decent performance on Saturday, Lowry deserves a chance of starting in his preferred position. Spector and Robbo on the bench can cover for all eventualities in defence. But, you’re probably right about Robbo starting.

  • Waycoolblue says:

    I would expect us to win the game But this is Blues so anything could happen . KRO

  • Andrew says:

    Thought Thomas and hancox were out on loan? What’s happened to koby Arthur?

  • Dave Mann says:

    Four points from these two away goals would be a very good tally for me , it would keep us right in there and pushing for those playoffs , my team also staffs though Rowett might play safe with Robinson instead of Lowry but it won’t be far off .. 1-2 for me . Kro

  • ChrisG says:

    I’m going 2-1 tonight, I would like to see Robbo play cos I think we’re better with him in the side.
    Dug my thermals out last night, these next 2 games are gonna be cold ones!!!

  • Hillfield Blues says:

    Quite a defining game tonight.Our close rivals for the playoff spots have winnable home games so one of our away day specials will do tonight.1-2 Blues.

  • Richard Granfield says:

    Blues not having scouts to cover leagues in Europe must be a disadvantage in recruiting players.

  • therealddeal says:

    Easy victory tonight….2,or 3-0….same Saturday at Derby…..Vaughan to come off the bench in both games to score..play off push recommences tonight kids….come on Blues!

  • Kazakblue says:

    Regarding Richards comments on the lack of a European/Worldwide scouting network, is it not worth considering using the expats who are either on OP or contribute to the Blues Wall on match days to possibly come up with a few recommendations from the countries or neighbouring countries where they are based?
    I seem to remember Daniel using the figure of more than 100 different locations that Blue noses are resident around the world.
    If even one player looked promising, the cost of an airline ticket and possible hotel accommodation to a senior Blues representative to go and have a look may be worth a gamble in the long run.
    As for compensation to the Ex Pat involved, maybe a one off payment may suffice on any recommended player signing a contract.

    • atko says:

      Nobody knows what GR is looking for. Problem is GR doesn’t know what he’s looking for if you look at his last interview. Basically he thinks he will be okay in the wide areas and not need to replace Dimi then Cotts gets injured again and that highlights the need to replace him. It demonstrates how we are walking a tightrope with such a small squad. I think it also demonstrates there isn’t a lot of funds available at all too. One minute he thinks cover will be okay in certain areas then the next he realuzes it ain’t the case. I think we need another Maghoma type player who can play wide and is instrumental at tracking back. If we can get support for Grounds we’ll not need a replacement for him. I think we need a Tesche type player in midfield. Maybe Blues can sort something out with Forest tonight after the game. Who knows? We definitely need more creativity. Interesting reading Freemans comments about them being creative and scoring from everywhere. We need to be more like that without exposing ourselves at the back from the counter.

  • atko says:

    Anybody else feel we’re one game away from another Fulham? Not saying it will be tonight or even Saturday but we have created that many chances in the last 2 or 3 games is it without taking them that somebody is gonna get a hiding soon. Pity Cotts is out, he was the difference last time we played at Forest. Think GR will need to be very careful with him and not try to rush his recovery with the Euros this summer and all the fuss over Wales qualifying it would be guttering for Cotts not to be 100% through coming back too early and something else going wrong. Maghoma is gonna be key tonight.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I always feel that someone is on a tonking from us… even over the last 2 or 3 seasons. We’ve done it over the likes of Millwall and Sheff Wed a few seasons back, then at Fulham this season. You always get that feeling that it’s just on the cusp of clicking for us. Unfortunately, we’re short of that 20 goals-per-season striker that could make all the difference. It’s not as though we don’t create chances, we create them in abundance. We just need someone who comes alive in the penalty area, especially the 6 yard box.

      • Dave Mann says:

        If we had one of them Saturday we would be in the 4th round of the cup and be in the top three of the championship , 20 goal a season strikers cost an awful lot of money , we’re miles away unfortunetly but to be where we are at the moment is testimony to our managers organisation and man management skills I guess . Kro

        • StaffsBlue says:

          Don’t disagree with any of that Dave, I was just stating what we’re short of. No, we can’t buy a 20 goal-per-season striker, but we can make one. Players can be improved and, lets face it, our strikers have plenty of room for improvement.

          • Dave Mann says:

            Donaldson got 16 last season so that’s possible yes . Kro

          • atko says:

            A 20 goal a season striker seldom costs a lot of money. Simply because as soon as a lot of money is paid for them they don’t score 20 goals a season! I think the game has changed from years ago when many teams had strikers that score 20 goals. Nowadays you are lucky if there is one team in each league that has one as Goals seem to come from all over the pitch these days. Personally I don’t care who puts the ball in the net as long as someone does. If Donaldson & Vaughan act as providers I am happy with that as long as others are taking those chances. I’d like to see Toral do more. I just want to say to him, we are not Arsenal, for crying out loud SHOOT! I thought we were going to have someone who could score a lot for us after the way he started at Burnley when he first arrived but sadly it hasn’t turned out that way. Someone needs to tell him to shoot more.

    • Shirley Blue says:

      I think GR needs to concern himself with what is right for Birmingham City not Wales.

      • atko says:

        Hopefully GR wont think like that. Its not whats right for Wales its whats right for the player. If Cotts feels he’s been rushed back to quick or he fails to make it in the summer then he’s gonna point the finger at Blues. A sure fire way for him to want to leave and he’s one ee dont want to lose as there’s plenty of interest.

        • Shirley Blue says:

          If he fails in the summer against England that’s fine with me. I am sure he would not have played on Saturday unless he felt he was fit enough to do so himself and I don’t think GR is stupid enough to rush players back if they are unfit. Do I think he should be wrapped up in cotton wool so he is fit for the Euro’s just because Wales (thanks purely to having the services of Gareth Bale) have actually finally managed to qualify for something – absolutely not. I havn’t forgiven them for the Rugby World Cup yet.

  • Texas Pete says:

    Yes Staffs we need that goal scorer. Whether it is a new buy or one of our current front runners being supplied by a new midfield master. This would turn one goal losses into draws and improve play if we are winning.
    I will be happy with a draw today. Last 4 games I asked for 7points, we got 9. Not bad at all. 4 points out of the next 2 games maybe.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Sorry Pete, I saw your post after I replied to Dave Mann about our strikers.

      • Texas Pete says:

        No problem Staffs. We are all asking for the same thing. I could see Vaughan being a Kevin Philips for us. Someone that pokes a goal regularly by poaching. We dont have that.
        I would like to see blues fight and win a high bid for a goal scoring talent that the fans and the media want to see. Dimmi was that except for the goals part oh and the crossing….. and the need to help out Grounds.

        • atko says:

          I get the impression that we are trying to improve the squad by bringing in a better player than we already have but we are just running in to brick walls with the budget we have got. I think GR is realizing that what he is looking for is impossible with our budget constraints even with the money he got for Dimi.

          • BlackCountryBlue says:

            I don’t expect anything to happen too quickly – agents and players are holding out for the best money they can secure, be it on permanent or loan deals. Business will only get done when all the fishing by the agents has been done and they are confident they have got the all the offers and deals they are going to get on the table.

        • StaffsBlue says:

          If Gray could add an end product to his play, he could be a £20-25m player. Without that, he’s worth about as much as we got for him. Hopefully, better coaches will add that to his game.

          As for the lack of goals, it would help if we had someone in the six yard box at the end of attacks.. I’ve lost count of the chances we’ve wasted whistling across goal or just past the post.

          • BlackCountryBlue says:

            Good point Staffs about the 6 yard box – What we would like/need is someone doing what Kevin Phillips’s job actually was – no wider role apart from cause their defence trouble and get in the box on the end of stuff. Obviously we haven’t got a player of his quality and I don’t think we have any one who is given that brief before a game because to an extent it is a luxury based on how we play. At the moment we have 1 up front and need all 11 ‘doing a job’ in a system that plays for long periods without the ball. Not a criticism as you can only work with what you have got, and fair play its having a degree of success.

          • StaffsBlue says:

            They used to say that all the most natural strikers stayed within the width of the goalposts. I think it still rings true.

          • atko says:

            No matter who we signed they would never be in the 6 yard box on the end of a ball in there anyway. Not even Linford Christie could have managed that. You see as long as we play with just one up front it isn’t physically possible. The ball gets played out to Donaldson who is on or around the half way line, he lays off to the winger who is right side or left side who either whips the ball in first time or else loses the ball whilst he waits for Donaldson to progress in to the area. Either way, Donaldson cannot get on the end of it & that will go for Vaughan or any one else up front for Blues. The only other way is to move the ball through the midfield & that’s what we have been saying throughout this post, we haven’t the creativity in midfield to do that. Maybe it is time to abandon looking at cover for this or that & concentrate on getting midfielders who GR believes he CAN rely on to play a 4-4-2.

          • StaffsBlue says:

            I’ve been saying the same thing for days atko.

            StaffsBlue says:
            January 10, 2016 at 1:51 pm

            In Rowett’s own words, we don’t have the central midfielders to play 2 up front. Well my thoughts are, “so buy some.” That’s probably too simplistic, but you get my point?

            StaffsBlue says:
            January 12, 2016 at 9:27 am

            By my reckoning, last season Donaldson scored 15 in the league and 1 in the League Cup. I’d be very surprised if he got anywhere near that this season. Before his injury, he’d only scored in 3 of 17 starts.

            He needs help from the 3 behind him. That’s where we need to buy goals. Or, buy two central midfielders that will allow us to play two up front. We’re not exactly prolific with 30 goals in 25 games. At the end of the season, goal difference could be vital.

            The trouble is, I’m not sure 4-4-2 is in Mr Rowett’s philosophy. I’d hope that it is, but tyhere’s been no real signs so far.

          • atko says:

            Yep agreed Staffs!

  • Buckley close to signing for blues .. Kro.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Kyle McFarlane has joined Nuneaton Town on a one month youth loan. Good experience for the lad. Hope it goes well for him.

  • It was suggested that Sunderland need to move some players out to avoid breaking wage restrictions, and one on the list Buckley was close to agreeing a move to blues .kro

  • Newsnow : transfer news -= Sunderland boss eyes double swoop …kro

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I read that Bolton will be placed into Administration on Monday if they don’t sell more players or a takeover isn’t completed. They’ll be docked 12 points, which would effectively relegate them. I think it’s a stark warning to all clubs. It doesn’t matter how big you are/were, if you don’t live within your means, you might not be around to regret it.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Bolton will be around a lot longer than me and you mate with the greatest of respect … Someone will get them out the gutter , just like we have been dragged out of it on a couple of occasions . Kro

  • Dave Mann says:

    Yeah as always with ‘ big ‘ clubs . Kro

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Davis in, Solomon-Otabor on the bench. Rest of the team as you’d expect.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Apprently, 4-3-3 tonight, with with Gleeson playing behind Davis and Kieftenbeld, with Toral wide right, Maghoma wide left and Donaldson in the middle.

  • KC says:

    Interesting how Toral works out wide right. Think he ha started there once before? Sheffield wednesday ? Be great to get something out of this.

  • The opposition has had 3 shts on target to blues 2 , that’s good away from home , we can easily win this ,…COME On BLUES ,

  • atko says:

    Hardly surprising the result really. I don’t think the ball was in play 15 minutes, the referee repeatedly stopped the game. There were cards all over the place. I believe he lost control of the game half way through the first half. Very few chances & a game that is easily forgettable I’d say. We got a point, maybe we could have got more, but I think we would all take a point at the start. With a bit more of the same on Saturday we should easily beat Derby who are really struggling with their form at the moment. We have to make sure that we aren’t the team that kick starts their season!

  • StaffsBlue says:

    A very good point, but could have been 3. The ref was a joke, the Forest antics a disgrace. I just had the feeling that if Rowett had been a little bit braver and made changes maybe 10 minutes earlier, we may have got the win. But, we can’t be too disappointed. One defeat in the last 7 is still play-off form.

    If we were to beat Derby on Saturday… we’d be just 6 points behind them.

  • atko says:

    Yeah, I saw that. Derby are the one team that are struggling right now above us. It’s getting really tight. One slip up can make a big difference.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      That’s why we need to win games like tonight, when we’re the dominant team. Just imagine, if we’d got the win our play deserved tonight and we managed to beat Derby, there would have been just 4 points seperating us. It’s so close, you can almost taste it. Bring on the cavalry Mr Rowett!! :)

  • Mitchell says:

    Derby game is a winnable one with a few good pointers. Vaughan hasn’t scored yet, Don.hasnt either for months and Maghoma emerging as the new Stern John. 3pts would totally change the thinking I am sure for the remainder of the transfer window-with a confident GR knocking even harder on Panos door. This Championship is riddled with flukes and wins are totally unpredictable . Away wins are the norm now even with the fancied ‘home teams’. Pivotal game certainly with an awful lot riding on the incoming quality of the type of new addition to the team.

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