Forest fans have had to wait three long and painful years, but Sunday will see us back playing football in the Championship. The opening fixture of the 2008/9 season couldn’t be much tougher, as the Reds’ welcome Steve Coppell’s Reading side to the City Ground.
Coppell has done well to hang on to most of the side that was relegated from the Premiership last year, having only lost Dave Kitson to Stoke for a handsome £5.5m so far. The Royals look like losing defender Nicky Shorey and that could before the meeting at the CG, with a host of Prem clubs battling for his signature.
Coppell has made few additions to his squad over the summer, making only 3 loan signings. The most notable of those being Emerse Fae from Nice.
Forest have been busy in the transfer market, having spent an impressive £4.9m to date. Earnshaw, Cole and Garner were the big money signings, but Frenchman Guy Moussi could prove to be the surprise package this season and cost a fraction of the big name deals at a rumoured £300,000.
Reading will be one of the fancied sides for promotion this year, so it will be interesting to see how we fair against what will be one of the strongest teams in the division. The pre-season preparations have gone well for Calderwood and the team. They should go into the game with confidence, although we do have a few injuries to contend with.
Nottingham Forest Team News:
Forest will be without Garner, Anderson and Tyson for the opener. Whilst Andrew Cole will get a fitness test before the game with Lewis McGugan described as ‘hopeful.’
Player to watch: Robert Earnshaw
Has a lot to prove this season and will be out to show he can still find the net on a regular basis. The biggest signing of the summer for us at £2.65m, will make him our main goal threat.
Reading Team News:
The Royals will be without former Red Brynjar Gunnarsson and Captain Graeme Murty through injury.The experienced Michael Duberry is expected to fill in for Murty.
Player to watch: James Harper
The 28 year old midfielder has been with Reading since 2001 and is an experienced campaigner and has made over 250 appearances for the Club.
Match Facts & Stats
The two sides have met a total of 22 times in the League. Forest have won 10, drawn 4 and lost 8. Last time we met was back in 2005, when we lost away 1-0 and won at home 1-0.
Difficult to predict, but I’ll go for a hopeful 1-1.
Morecambe (h). FLC1. Wednesday, August 13. KO. 7.45pm.