So, 7 points from 9 over Christmas/New Year, not bad eh? Oh, and the little matter of THAT win against THEM!
I guess it really is time to move on now but then again a 5-2 walloping against the dirty sheep doesn’t come along often enough does it?
It was superb to see the City Ground rocking, to see Marcus Tudgay and Robert Earnshaw return to haunt their former employers, to see Shaun Barker, Dean Leacock and Dean Moxey look like donkeys off Skegness beach for whom football is something merely to pass the time in the winter before another summer season, and to generally witness a passionate tubthumping display from a team who seemed to care just like us.
We’ve reached higher standards at times in the last two seasons, but it’s hard to imagine a better feeling after the final whistle as after that game. Unforgettable.
So, gloating over with, it was always going to be difficult to top that – and we have stuttered a little. What’s pleasing is that, despite not really clicking in either of the following two games, we’ve battled back to earn a useful point against Barnsley and have toughed out an away win at Ipswich. Both the types of games that, as cliche dictates, you need to get something from to progress from this division.
The question is – what now? Do we kick on, grab a well-poised league by the scruff of the neck and get up to the Premier League or do we have a month of squabbling between board and manager, sign nobody, get some injuries, fade and finish in mid table. With Forest it could be either couldn’t it?
Some signs for the dreaded January window aren’t too bad. Marcus Tudgay’s loan was ‘with a view to a permanent’ so you’d hope that his capture could be sealed with relative ease. American Robbie Findley also only needs a work permit to check in on Trentside. I don’t know much about him but most report suggest he has the type of pace to trouble defenders at this level.
Then there’s the transfer rumours – with bids supposedly in for the likes of Adam Hammill, Steve Morison and Jay Emmanuel Thomas (presumably a loan from Arsene as a thank you for not destroying boy wonder Ramsey!). Any of those would do nicely please Transfer Acquisitions Panel.
But then, as always, there is the dark cloud of doubt. First, we don’t do January windows do we? In fact we mostly seem to end up worse off after the door slams shut (not signing Shorey, letting Southall go etc etc).
Then there’s the rumours about our players. Wilson seems Celtic bound leaving our defensive cover paper thin (goodness know what would happen if Big Wes or the vastly improved Chambers should get injured). There’s also the talk about players whose contracts are up in the summer either having no word from the club (sounds about right if you remember Commons-gate) or being asked to take a pay cut (according to the Daily Mirror). Either way it doesn’t sound good for dressing room harmony when all eyes should be on the matters on the field.
Being a cynic, I also worry that the glorious night against the sheep could be this year’s ‘West Brom away’. That game last year seemed to sow seeds of doubt in the club’s minds that we needed any signings – because we were so good. The sad fact was that no-one beyond the starting 11 stepped up and shone in the run in. Being doubly cynical you could say that Hammill is this year’s Moses – a player we chase with no chance of getting, who ends up at Wigan.
Then there’s all this talk of Billy being linked with taking up the hot seat at Preston, Burnley etc. It all seems like rubbish but, at a time when the confidence of the players seems good it is something else we could do without.
I really believe a solid January could propel us to a promotion push.
QPR look well set but let’s face it are not world beaters. Beyond them Cardiff have their usual jitters, Swansea don’t have the firepower to back up their mesmerising passing play and Leeds and Norwich may well over-extend themselves in their first year back at this level. Both have done superbly well, but both are not the finished article.
Then there’s a pack of teams from ‘hot and cold’ Watford, to ‘big money’ Leicester, unsung Reading, managerless Burnley, underrated Donny and 5/6 more – including us – that could, realistically get in the top 6.
With a splash of backroom stability, one/two signings (a left back being a must yet again) and a bit of luck we could even go one better.
The Championship is unpredicatable, Forest are even more so. I’d just like not to be looking back at this moment as the high point. January could be so important for that not to be the case.
You can check out what else t10red has to say, by checking out the trentender.blogspot.com/.