Sunday, 31 October 2010

Drifting along could cost us dear

Forest, let's face it, are drifting at the moment. Some good results at home followed up again by an away defeat and talk of what might have been after some good play. Billy said himself that this side will win a few, draw a few and lose a few. He's right and that means we'll drift between 9th and 16th until we can snap out of the cycle.

The trouble is we're now heading into what could potentially be the most difficult month of the season. Tough trips to Watford, Cardiff and Leicester and home visits of high flyers Coventry and QPR mean this is not a time to be drifting. For reasons of local rivalry, form, quality and style of opposition and past records all of those games are (without wanting to sound too harsh) 'loseable'.

All season we've looked desperate for an injection of something fresh. Someone either quick or tricky to make the difference. Some of the players seem flat (Cohen, Anderson, Blackstock) and often the atmosphere feels the same way too - as though we're all waiting for a spark of genius.

Thankfully, after some disappointing early results that came from Lewis McGugan. His magnificient seven goals (including THAT free kick) have lit up the season, brought him back into the first team fold and saved the side from a worse fate. But he can't shoulder the whole burden. We need something else to give us that extra 5 or 10% to take us from mediocre to menacing.

We've now heard that we probably won't dip into the loan market unless necessary through injury and are waiting until January to snap up new additions.

I can see two problems with that. We always fail in the January window and there are 30 points to play for before January begins (42 if the elusive signings don't come until the very end of the month). By waiting until then we accept the status quo at best.

I can see the virtues in the argument that states loan players can actually be unsettling.

Some fail to live up to the hype and so only serve to unseat a permanent member of the squad and others 'do a Shorey' - leaving you missing them all the more when they've gone.

But, given the sheer number of games to go until January and the impending challenges of November, is it not 'better to have loved and lost than never have have loved at all'?

Last week Andy Reid went on loan to Sheffield United. We know what Reid can do and to me he has more quality than anyone in our current squad. He's the type of player that should push Lewis, Radi etc on to want to raise their games. Surely his addition would have been a relatively risk-free loan to see us through for 10 matches? Across the division we've seen other similar loan deals tied up (Liam Lawrence is another player I'd have loved here...) by rivals while we have stood still.

I fear that standing still will cost us dearly in the rest of the year - maybe even beyond if we struggle and then are not in a league position that would attract anyone who happens to be on the market in January.

Maybe I'm wrong. If Lewis continues to come up with the goods, a fit again Earnshaw gets in the goals and a resurgent Radi finds the form of this time last year then we'll be laughing and could well see off some of those November challengers and head into a slightly kinder December much happier.

If so I'll apologise for fearing the worst but right now I'm expecting a frustrating end to 2010...