Seeing the wood for the trees: Nottingham Forest Match Preview

CAS Trust Board Member Aaron Bowater previews Tuesday night's match.

Not a season passes without pundits falling over one another to crown the Championship winner and promotion contenders before a ball is kicked. Similarly ritualistic has been the fawning of said talking heads over Nottingham Forest and their odds on a return to the promised land of the Premier League. Last season, it was the second coming of Stuart Pearce that rendered their promotion, at the least through the play offs, inevitable. Before that, the return of Billy Davies clearly earmarked Forest for a rapid rise up the ranks. Again, the pundits were proved wrong.

This season, however, is different. A glance across the bookies and clearly Nottingham Forest are no longer the “inevitable” riders for promotion. The appointment of Dougie Freedman, the club’s sixth manager since the Al- Hasawi Family bought the club in 2012, midway through last season saw the third appointment of last season alone. This season starts in time when the owners were hoping to see their “three to five year plan” in fruition. We shall see if the pile of P45s was an integral part of this plan.

In any case, last seasons mid table finish has not seen Forest talked about as being there or thereabouts at the end of the season. With two games gone, Forest have won one and lost one in the league as well as suffering a shock loss to lower league Walsall in the league cup. That said, having come from behind against Rotherham on Saturday, Freedman’s side will feel confident going into another game on home soil, this time against the Addicks.

Similarly with two games gone, hot picks for relegation Charlton will be relatively pleased with four points already on the board. Many of those fans who looked with dread at our opening five fixtures will be positively thrilled that Charlton are yet to suffer a defeat. And with club captain Johnnie Jackson roaring back to full fitness, having made his 200th appearance for the club against Derby County, the Addicks may feel optimistic that we won’t be leaving the City Ground empty handed.

Defensively, Stephen Henderson remains side-lined and doubts remain about Chris Solly who has struggled with a knee problem. Similar knee problems keep Franck Moussa out of the squad and Igor Vetokele once again misses a trip with injuries. With no new injury problems, and having picked up their first win, Dougie Freedman may name an unchanged side.

Last season’s away fixture at Nottingham Forest saw the spoils shared with a 1-1 draw, a result that proved unhelpful to both Stuart Pearce and Bob Peeters whose sides remained locked in mid-table and on an equal 29 points. It was Charlton who inflicted Dougie Freedman’s first loss as Forest Boss at the Valley in March of last season and Addicks boss Guy Luzon will be hoping for a repeat performance, and result, on Tuesday night.