Friendly Matches Show Team Coming Together

So now the season is getting closer to the start and we have played Villa and County is recent friendlies, the teams starting to take shape, though what the starting line up versus Bristol city is still not 100% clear.

Against Villa the game had been equal for the first half before we showed a bit of class and Villa fell apart. It was a very poor Villa team, but a heartening sight was Lewis McGugan looking like he remembered what it’s like to score a goal.

The midfield for now looks like it will be narrow, there is a lack of width in the squad, so Guedioura played a bit wide, but was often inside the pitch, which lead to Villa having a ridiculous amount of space down the left, and the introduction of Moussa to play a natural wide game cut this out in the second half, and Villa had nothing to offer attacking wise after this.

This sums up perfectly the requirement for natural width. Moloney had been targeted and had Warnock been able to control a ball last Saturday things may have been different, the left back so often failing control passes to atatck the right back. That said, admittedly more a change for seeing what a player can do, and not so much tactically it shows that S’oD is aware tactically and can close a threat off.

Now we have Ayala, we might start to see a more senior defence, with Halford in his accustomed right back slot, Moloney although capable is perhaps a League One starting right back, handy as a backup, but not really a starter for a team of our aspirations.

The midfield is looking crowded, full off options, but all of them central. Gillett, now signed is the Paul McKenna figure, does all the unseen graft and hard work that so many people fail to grasp. Without this type of player last season we were lost. Moussi is inconsistent, and not really a ball player. He’s more a destroyer, a de Jong, than Gillett’s Deschamps ball carrier type player, dropping deep and making things happen.

Around then we have creative options, Lewis, looking good again and Radi, still for me so inconsistent, there are those who laud him, and yes he is capable of wonderful performances, he is also capable of disappearing completely form a game. Cohen too is to come back fully, whether he is the same player is unclear, we could implement him on the left, but Reid is looking athletic out there, rather than pushing Reid into an advanced role to support a striker (a role Majewski occasionally took on)

We have a plethora of options up front, with perhaps another signing to come. Blackstock is definitely a first choice, with Findley, Miller, McGoldrick or Derbyshire to play off him. Tudgay is more a Blackstock back up, but every time I deride him, he comes good and proves me wrong. We look to be perhaps signing Simon Cox, who would signify the end surely of Derbyshire’s Forest career. Also perhaps the signing of Bader al-Mutawa, as this is unclear at the moment what is happening provides even more options.

The defence now has balance, and some cover, though very youthful cover. Lascelles has a big season ahead, try and break in the team, and he will get chances, the very nature of that position means suspensions are going to happen, as well as injuries (Ayala has a chequered history)Lascelles needs to graps these chances. As said Moloney can cover right back, and perhaps Freeman at left back. Fenton appeared last night against County, and perhaps he will play a part, but surely this would be too much too soon for him.

Camp has the no.1 jersey and we have not seen much since the first few friendlies from the Kuwaiti keeper Khaled al-Rashidi, rumour has it some of the Kuwaitis have been outright refused work permits, and the only likelihoods would be al-Mutawa and al-Rashidi.

So, all in all close to being there, options exist, but a true right winger would be nice, McCleary is a big loss there, and Anderson could have covered, the problem was Anderson was spent here, his fighting and fall outs last season, and general lack of any kind of final ball. It has been a joke for a while that we had a winger who could neither cross nor take on his man. So that’s my one focus, with maybe more cover at centre half. Loans can be used wisely here, once Premiership squads have been finalised and players miss out on a final 25 berth.

Optimism is definitely my key word here.