The Opposition View: Nottingham Forest

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 13 January 2011

Having been interviewed before Pompey's most recent home victory against Forest (yes, it was that long ago), David Graham answers more questions ahead of the return fixture on Saturday.

Earlier in the season you said automatic promotion wasn't a realistic target. Forest now sit six points behind Cardiff who are in second place with two games in hand. Is automatic promotion a realistic aim now?

It's amazing how a good run of form can completely change the outlook of a football club. Indeed, we seem unbeatable at home (31 games unbeaten in the league at the City Ground - yes, 31) and our away form is finally picking up (3 wins from our last 4 trips).

As shown, we are within grasping distance of automatic promotion. While this is something that the club will be aiming for, I still believe play-offs await us, which is certainly worrying considering our last 3 attempts. Anything less would be seen as a failure.

I have had hope squashed so many times as a Forest supporter, I almost dare not say the 'P' word. With half the season to go there is certainly still a battle on our hands!

Billy Davies has been linked with the vacant
Burnley post. Given his history of falling out with his previous clubs, are you worried about him leaving your club?

Perhaps surprisingly, not in the slightest. He was also linked with the Preston job. He has indeed had a rather volatile history with past clubs, and there have been well publicised arguments between himself and our board, but as a long suffering Forest fan who has seen a vast array of crap managers come and go in the last 12 years or so I can see that Billy has his stock firmly with NFFC.

His failure with Derby I believe will be our success. His desire to succeed does seem to be a more personal ambition, rather than for Forest, but he has a great relationship with the fans, he seems to come across as enjoying his job and he won't find many more clubs in the Championship who will give him the financial backing that he wants. At the very least, Billy Davies is a superb manager at Championship level. I hope I don't eat my words, but I think he's staying!

Do you expect any significant January activity at
Forest or will it be a quiet month?

Much to everyone's surprise we have already signed two players! Tudgay from Sheffield Wednesday has seemed an astute signing for 400k, following Dexter Blackstock's broken leg. 3 goals in 3 starts has shown he is perfectly competent striker. We've also signed some Yank from the MLS on a free named Robbie Findley, who played against England in the World Cup. He's awaiting a work permit and apparently he's strong and quick, but lacks a decent touch. He is also a striker.

We're in the market for a left back as well, following Ryan Betrand's return to Chelsea. We're linked with signing him on a permanent (yes please) and a Scandanavian player named Jonathon Parr. A rejected bid for Steve Morison of Millwall, and a lodged bid for Barnsley's Adam Hamill would suggest that Forest haven't finished yet in the market!

Given Pompey's recent struggles on and off the pitch, you will surely be expecting a big win at the City Ground on Saturday?

When the in-form team plays the out-of-form team, the script usually deviates away from the expected. Saying that, our home record is phenomenal, and if we were a top 10 Premier League side the media would be going crazy about it. At home we play with a confidence and creativity that we seem to so annoyingly lack away. When this doesn't go to plan we have still seemed to have dug our heels in and scraped through with what's needed, which while not pretty to watch is still satisfying.

I am expecting a win, but am aware our unbeaten run must come to an end at some point, and probably some point soon. On a side note, good job securing Lawrence, always rated him as a player.

Are there any major weaknesses in
Forest's first XI that Pompey might be able to take advantage of?

Spies! Alas, there may be. Our main left back Ryan Bertrand has returned to his parent club Chelsea, after a highly successful loan spell here. Our options to replace him are rubbish. We have Joel Lynch, who has played about 10 minutes of football in the last year and is regarded as a complete liability (as well as being a centre back anyway), Julian Bennett who, again, hasn't played for us in over a year due to injury and being loaned out and finally Chris Cohen who is a very talented football player in midfield, he is not, however, a left back.

Also, while we have some ace creative attacking midfielders in Majewski and McGugan we sometimes lack a steady head in the middle of the park. McKenna our captain looks like he may be on his last legs and Moussi can be compared to an octopus at times with his style of play. It leads to nerve-wracking moments.

Predict the outcome of the match.

2-0 to
Forest. Earnie and Majewski to score.

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