The season is well and truly over for Nottingham Forest but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a massive change come the start of the next one.
A fourth defeat on the bounce at Ipswich signalled the official end of any lingering play off hopes, so it’s a case of just playing for pride now I guess. Relegation is of course still mathematically possible but you’d get silly odds for it at the bookies.
Portman Road has never been an easy place to go for Forest but they started brightly and forced Bart Bialkowski into some good saves.
Ipswich in turn had their own early dominance; Freddie Sears ran the Forest defence ragged in a blistering ten minute spell. Matt Mills headed against the Ipswich bar after 25 minutes and the game looked well balanced going into half time.
In all fairness, Gary Gardner should have put us ahead just before the break, but he headed over the bar.
Two points worthy of note here; Dougie Freedman set up 4-4-2 away from home and secondly, Mick McCarthy like the Red’s boss was under scrutiny for his recent style of play. Which begs the question; would you accept negative football and be in play off contention like Ipswich?
Despite having similar goal averages, Ipswich had plundered ten more than Forest thus far. So if anyone was going to break the deadlock in the battle of the safety shots it was going to be the Tractor Boys.
However, Forest actually looked the more likely to score until the home side went ahead in the 63rd minute through Pringle, which turned out to be the match winner. Soon after, Dougie rang the changes with a triple substitution.
One of which was Deimantas Petravicius, the young Lithuanian international who starred against England in the Euro qualifiers. Hopefully this will be a sign of things to come in the remaining 12 games, two up front and some valuable game time for the youngsters.
So I return to my earlier prediction, I am almost certain that there will be a major structural change come the season’s end.
By this I mean that it will be either the resignation of the chairman or the departure of the manager. If Fawaz Al Hasawi doesn’t adapt to the British way of running a business (paying people on time and having respect for your employees) then I believe he may just pack his bags and leave.
If he stays and compromises a little then it is Dougie Freedman who will depart, I use the term “depart” because having worked under such adversity and financial restraints I would like to think that a mutual consent settlement would be appropriate.
Personally I’d like to see Fawaz stay with the club because with a bit more decorum he could well hold the key to the rejuvenation of the club’s fortunes. He can ill afford any more negative PR and as I said last week, it really is last chance saloon.
Ironically, the club face yet another winding up order next Monday. I don’t doubt for a second that it will come to anything but this really must be the final embarrassment!
I don’t know if Fawaz has read any of these blogs but it would be beneficial for him to do so. I have been a fan of his despite of the cultural indiscrepancies, because I understand just how bad things were before his family arrived at the club.
I truly believe that despite post embargo restraints we will still have a better squad than most. With a fit Assombalonga and the odd intelligent loan signing you have the right ingredients for promotion, but this will all hinge on whether the owner refuses to change or if the manager is given a golden handshake.
I’m pretty sure that at least one of those scenarios will pan out!