Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Pearce should have been given more time, says Forest fan Seat Pitch

Rival Lines

Match preview
Nottingham Forest v AFCB
Blogger Interview: Seat Pitch

I had the pleasure of asking Seat Pitch blogger Pat what he thought about Dougie Freedman's appointment and how Nottingham Forest might go about the match with AFCB. Seeing how the team played against Wigan and Bolton at home it looks like AFCB have a big job on their hands.

CC: Do you think Stuart Pearce had run out of ideas and were you sad to see him go?

SP: Injuries to key players, like last season, have hurt us. But, of course, we shouldn’t - and can’t - be dependent on the likes of Andy Reid, Chris Cohen and Jack Hobbs. That said, Pearce seemed to struggle with a Plan B and, ultimately, that seemed to be his downfall.

Many Forest fans, myself included, had hoped it would work - and the club would finally have some stability. Any manager should have a whole season before being judged and I think Pearce deserved that. The man is a live, breathing City Ground legend - this article on Seat Pitch pretty much sums it up:

CC: Forest have not had the best of luck in picking their managers of late. Does Dougie Freedman stand a good chance of getting it right or is there a more deep routed reason why the team has not been challenging at the top of the Championship?

SP: There is something deep-routed at Forest that seems to have hampered our chances for years… maybe it’s the expectation, maybe it’s the history, maybe it’s just the lack of a real plan for progress. Actually, it’s largely that - at the moment we’re just chucking money around and changing managers and hoping we’ll get lucky. Freedman could be the man we need, or it could be another false dawn - we’ll find out if he lasts beyond the summer.

CC: You have had your fair share of injuries this season do you think that has hampered Forest's progress much?

SP: As I said, losing Reid, Cohen and Hobbs early in the season halted our impressive start - without them it became apparent we had no leaders on the pitch, no creativity without Reid, no energy without Cohen and no defensive resolve without Hobbs. And now we’ve lost Britt Assombalonga for a year as well.

CC: Are you disappointed about the way the club has been handling its finances that resulted in an embargo (now lifted) and failure to meet FIFA's Financial Fair Play rules?

SP: We’ve basically ignored FFP for the past three seasons thinking we’d somehow get promoted and pretend it didn’t exist. Except it’s caught up with us now and we’re under a transfer embargo until (at least) January 2016. As you can imagine this a little bit inconvenient for a club desperate to get promoted. The financial results due this week won't be pretty.

CC: Can you see some positive things about the team that you like since Dougie Freedman has been brought in - the Wigan game was a good home win wasn't it?

SP: The Wigan game, albeit against poor opposition, showed what we can do over 90 minutes - something we’ve struggled to do all season. Likewise, the 4-1 win against Bolton on Saturday was one of our most complete performances of this campaign. Players have responded positively and there’s definitely been a lift (new manager bounce?). Ten points from 12 so far is obviously an impressive start, as is 14 goals from four games.

CC: How about the Blackpool match. A 4-4 draw highlighted some of the problems in the team didn't it?

SP: Losing Jack Hobbs injury (again) highlighted our defensive weakness - Freedman brought Danny Collins back in from the cold, seemingly a good move as we’re also missing Wilson and Mancienne at centre-back. But conceding an injury-time equaliser against nine men shows our lack of concentration at times.

CC: Forest have only got a goal difference of +1, so is the defence the main reason for Forest's slip down the league?

SP: Until mid-October we were conceding fewer than a goal per game. Obviously that changed after Hobbs’ injury and our midfield’s inability to track attacking players. But after scoring for fun, we seemed to forget where the net was - so it’s a combination of both really.

CC: Can you still make the play-offs?

SP: Fawaz thinks we have a ‘big chance’. I think we have a remote chance; one that involves us gaining close to 30 points from our last 14 games - some of the other teams are going to have to slip up.

CC: Do you think the selling of Karl Darlow and Jaamal Lascelles to Newcastle last summer was in the best interests of the club or a big mistake?

SP: In reality, it’s what Championship clubs need to do - bring though academy players and sell for big money. At the time it was claimed it would help with FFP, but then we spent the money on Michail Antonio and Assombalonga. So it was both in the best interests and a big mistake - if that’s possible.

CC: Do you expect a big exodus of players in this summer?

SP: I hope not! We are still allowed to sign players but there’s tight restrictions which make it very difficult to bring quality in, unless they’re on a free transfer. Burnley and West Brom bid for Henri Lansbury and Antonio respectively on deadline day but if we lose them we’ll struggle to replace them.

CC: Forest raised their game when they last played AFC Bournemouth and got a win. So is it a game that you think the Forest fans particularly look forward to when they play the Cherries?

SP: Given your position, and our need for points, I’m not sure it’s a game most are looking forward to. Although we often raise our game against teams above us in the table so who knows?

CC: Which player do AFCB have to look out for in Forest's team when they play?

SP: Given Assombalong’s injury, Antonio is the obvious answer - ungainly at times, he’s also fast, direct and exceptionally strong on the ball and responsible for eight assists and 10 goals this season.

CC: What is your score prediction for the game?
SP: I’ll be optimistic and go for 2-1 to Forest.

CC: It was good to hear from Pat at Seat Pitchalthough on recent results I think AFCB are more worried about finding ways to get three points than Forest these days and I make Forest big favourites for this game. I saw Michail Antonio's goal against Bolton at the weekend - strength, power and a controlled finish - incredible! I might be wrong but maybe Jack Hobbs is Pat's favourite player by the amount of references to him. But Forest will be a good team even without him and, Reid, Lansbury and Assombalonga. 

Eddie Howe needs a reaction from the stupor that has fallen on the Cherries and while the atmosphere at the City ground will be great another defeat for the Cherries now would be very damaging, but something we might just have to cope with. While I hope for an AFCB win, I believe a draw would be a good result in this fixture.

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