Sixth placed Preston North End come to The City Ground tomorrow looking to continue their good start to the season. Whilst The Championship doesn’t offer any easy games, Forest have come up against some quality sides so far. Tomorrow won’t be any different and it’s a good thing that we’ll face another test. Preston always seem to give a good game and the battering at home a few seasons ago was quite a pivotal moment in terms of our improvement in recent seasons. The 3-0 defeat allowed stage 1 of our squad overhaul to take place under Aitor Karanka and things have been much better since.
Preston always seem to play good football so fingers crossed it will be a decent game. It would be great if we can go into the international break unbeaten but I fancy for a win following the last two performances. We seem to be developing some healthy competition and it bodes well going into the next phase of fixtures.
I’d spoken with North End fan, Sam Martin, to get her thoughts on Preston and Forest as well as her predictions for the game.
How is the season shaping up following preseason? Friendlies, form, signings, etc. What are your expectations for this time out?
We’ve made a good start and picked up some good wins so far. Pre-season, I was concerned about key positions not being covered and our lack of signings but so far so good. However, injuries have started to strike already which has been a major factor for the past 2 seasons. Fingers crossed we don’t pick anymore long term injuries now. Before the season started I thought we’d finish mid table but given the way we’ve been playing we could be pushing for a top 6 finish.
What was the team’s performance like in your last outing?
The mid-week cup game against Hull was pretty much a game of 2 halves (cliché). We should have won it comfortably but the second half wasn’t good at all and it ended up going to penalties. It was a weakened side playing but there was enough experience and talent on the pitch to not struggle the way they did.
What are the key strengths and weaknesses of your team? Who do forest fans need to be worried about the most?
At the moment we have a strong midfield. Danial Johnson has made a good start to the season and as always Ben Pearson is key. We are lacking in a strike force but with a good attacking midfield, goals haven’t been an issue yet this season.
What are your thoughts on Forest?
I’ve always admired Forest as a club. I grew up in the Clough era with the likes of Pearce, Clough, Keane, Webb, Walker, some great players and a club with a great history. They’ve had a reasonable start to the season and already got some key wins under their belt against Fulham and the draw with Leeds. Definitely a side to keep an eye on this season.
Who do you see as our main threat/best player and why?
I like Lewis Grabban. He’s caught my eye a few times in previous seasons and there was talk of us trying to sign him once over. He’s a consistent goal scorer and I think there’s still a lot of future potential there for him.
What would you give the clubs rivalry with Forest out of 10? 1 – being your 2nd team 5 – being a mutual respect and 10 – your most hated team.
I think 5, there’s a mutual respect. Both clubs are steeped in history and looking to return to their former glories (granted yours are more recent than ours). And we’ve a good record against Forest in recent years.
Your most memorable encounter with Forest and why?
Last seasons win was obviously a good one. We’ve been quite evenly matched over recent years so it’s always a game that could go either way. The 3-0 last year was a good one though.
What’s your predictions for the game with scorers?
This really is a game that could go either way with both clubs in great form. I’ll go for a North End win at 2-1, with Johnson and Maguire to score.
I’m going to go with a 2-0 home win for Forest with Joe Worrall and Lewis Grabban on the scoresheet.
Thanks very much to Sam for her thoughts, it’s very much appreciated!