Bolton Wanderers: Forest Report
Another Saturday, another point leaving us sandwiched in the table between Charlton and Birmingham. If it was 2004, I suspect that most of us would be pleased about this. In fact, in that season we finished 8th with Charlton in 7th and Birmingham in 10th.
Now this piece of trivia might not seem important, but I think it is a sign that there will be life in us well beyond the end of the season and that we won`t be doomed to the life a mediocre Championship club forever.
Birmingham have gone down, gone up, won a league cup and gone down again since that particular season. Who knows, in 9 year's time, we might even beat Spurs 8-4 in the FA Cup proper, well done to the baby whites btw.
The game at the weekend though, I am disappointed not to have taken 3 points. There is nothing wrong with an away point, but having won last Saturday and Forest losing each of their last three, it would have been nice to get our first back to back wins of the season. Still, with another 3 matches coming up in the next 8 days, due to the crazy turnaround periods that occur in the Championship, we`ll hopefully get those victories.
As I live in Hull, I just really really really want us to beat them, especially after the game at the KC, a miserable game of football.
Still, is there anybody else who is looking at the table and thinking to themselves that we can still go up? I know we are 12 points behind Middlesbrough but we do have a game in hand. This coupled along with our squad which, I still believe to be one of the strongest in the league when we have our first choice starting 11 available, whoever that may be.
The golden boy, man of fantasy and generally top man Stuart Holden could win this league on his own right?
The ability of the squad to switch formations between a 4231 and the traditional 442 also fills me with confidence. The 4231 is the perfect way to start games away and offers the defence cover and has seen us concede a lot less goals recently.
The problem though is that this concentration on defending and not conceding has left us with little attacking impetus. No shots in the first half against Forest is abysmal. Playing Chris Eagles instead of De Ridder might be a cure for this, but with so many games coming up in such a short period of time, squad rotation is going to be natural. I really do hope De Ridder can make an impact In the squad though, as wingers is one position we are short on, although I wouldn`t be against Chris Lester seeing some time on the pitch.
I think Al has made a point about Marcos Alonso being moved up the pitch on here, which once he has served his suspension, is something we could look at, especially if the opposition has a talented right winger.
The switch in formation and the timing of it is going be something which defines games. If we have started with a 4231, which I suspect we will do quite a lot with Dougie, there are going to be more games when the defence has been neutralised by the opposition defence. What we have to do is identify that plan A isn`t working and change things up, which to be fair, is something that has been done well in the past two games.
Mark Davies also has to step up; the role in the middle of the attacking 3 seems like a role that he will thrive in. As he gains the match sharpness back after his injury, we will need him to linkup well with whichever one of our strikers he has in front of him, otherwise the lone strikers` role will be a lonely one. Saying that, Pratley hasn`t looked that bad, right?
Al should be back tomorrow with a match preview for the Derby game. I have a feeling we`ll win 1-0. I have no idea who`ll score it but would quite like to see Kevin Davies get it. Hero.
Follow Daniel on Twitter at @danoftheavenue