Nottingham Forest’s away form continues to be their ace card this season as Sabri Lamouchi’s men sit a solitary point behind the Championship leaders at the time of writing.
The Reds are unbeaten on the road this season and it’s fair to say that they’ve visited some very tricky venues thus far. If I’m honest, the performances have been far from holistic at times, but performances don’t get you promoted, points do!
In contrast to the roadshow, the home form is certainly work in progress since losing to West Brom on the opening day of the campaign.
It’s so easy to get swept away with fantasy and delusions of grandeur when you support a club the size of Nottingham Forest. One would be forgiven for drawing comparisons with Wolverhampton Wanderers; a nucleus of Portuguese players must surely constitute imminent promotion by means of beautifully flowing football, right?
Ironically, Forest remind me more of the German national sides of old than the “Yam Yams” in orange. Lamouchi has assembled his players in such a way that evokes memories of Helmut Schön, Franz Beckenbauer and Berti Vogts. I look at the Forest squad and don’t really see a star player but a collection of equals who are determined and disciplined everything they do.
It would be misguided to say that Germany didn’t have star players when you reel off names like Klinsmann, Matthäus, Muller and Beckenbauer, but they were exceptions to the rule in their respective eras. In lay mans terms, Deutschland triumphed by means of great tactics, a strong work ethic and flashes of brilliance from some of the names listed above.
The industry and guile of this current crop of Forest players is already yielding some fantastic results, and the gaffer must take a lot of credit for this. His assessment of who’s up for the battle, who’s eager to prove him wrong for dropping them the previous week, and who can pull a rabbit from the hat has been spot on so far.
Personally, and I think I speak for most Reds supporters when I say this, I’d be happy to see the unassuming march up the table continue right up until May 2020. Obviously, the bar needs to be raised as far as the attacking threat is concerned, given that Lewis Grabban is sometimes left isolated and has no proven replacement should he get injured.
The last two away games at Stoke and Blackburn were scrappy at times, but again deposited four priceless points in the promotion trust fund. The Reds, in typically German fashion, went behind in both matches, as they’d done so against Leeds United and Charlton Athletic, but similarly they once again bounced back and secured important results.
It will be interesting to see if Sabri Lamouchi opts for the same back four as at Ewood Park in the next fixture, in the absence of Michael Dawson. Despite the skipper’s injury, it’s testament to the quality available when you consider Alex Milosevic can’t even get into squad.
A win at home to Brentford this Saturday would be just the tonic after a hectic away schedule and could possibly see the Reds return to the Championship summit. One thing’s for sure, our disciplined away form has given us a great platform from which to build on in the home games.
*I would like to dedicate this article to a lifelong Nottingham Forest supporter called Dale Towle, who passed away in late September. He was only 38 years of age but touched the heart of everyone he met. Rest in Peace Dale.