Crippling injury list hurting Forest

Tuesday 4th March 2014 11:07

Billy Davies: Feeling the heat

Billy Davies: Feeling the heat

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Nottingham Forest FanZoner Dan Mounser is desperate to get the feel-good factor back, despite a crippling injury list at the City Ground.

As we approach the business end of the season in March and April, it seems Billy Davies' 'unfinished business' could be in danger of ending too.

A simply catastrophic injury list as well as authorised absences in the form of personal and/or family reasons has seen Forest cut down to the bare bones in recent weeks. I wouldn't say it's a full-blown crisis but the season is in danger of self-destructing if we are not careful.

To have a successful campaign, you need luck not just on the pitch but also with injuries as well. I have certainly never known an injury list like it in the 15 years of having a season ticket and lady luck hasn't been shining on the pitch recently either. Thankfully our squad size and strength in depth is probably the best we've had in many years but even this is being tested to the limit.

But the replacements are not exactly 17-year-old rookies. They are tried and tested players who should be capable of performing much better at this level than they currently are. And this is where Billy's man management skills need to come into force. He used to have a habit of getting an extra 10-15% out of people when he is on fire and I just hope he can reignite that flame in his own belly.

You have got to feel for Davies though. It's really not unfair to suggest that seven of most people's preferred starting XI are injured (Cohen, Lichaj, Wilson, Hobbs, Lansbury, Vaughan, Reid) and some of those have been out for a lengthy period already.

Any side in the entire country that lost seven first-team starters would struggle. Despite their squad, can you imagine Manchester City's form without Kompany, Zabaleta, Kolarov, Nasri David Silva, Toure and Aguero?

On paper at least, Forest's next three fixtures look a little more kind (Barnsley, Middlesbrough and Doncaster) than their last three (Wigan, Burnley and Leicester) so perhaps our luck could change? Maybe the loan market could be utilised to inject some fresh blood until we can get a few bodies back but that is always easier said than done.

Although still mathematically possible, a top-two finish this season is just not going to happen. Davies won't come out and say it of course but he knows the score. Leicester won't be caught due to their consistency and Burnley look ever so strong, especially at home. Not even an unbeaten run would necessarily do it now - it would have to be a winning run to even give you the slightest bit of hope.

Stranger things have happened but I just can't see it personally. A play-off berth wouldn't be the end of the world though considering everything that has been thrown at us this season and who knows, some of the injured players could make a return just in the nick of time and give us a timely morale boost just when you need it most.

One thing that can be rectified over the coming weeks is to get rid of playing one up front at home. I'm not saying we need to be gung-ho but being more offensive will benefit everyone in the long run.

I can understand keeping it tighter away from home as an adaptable 4-5-1 but it is time we believed in ourselves again at home and let the opposition worry about us for a change. Let's go at teams, let's get that feel-good factor back at the City Ground and that should hopefully prevent the opposition pressing with such a high line and making it difficult for us.

You can follow Dan on Twitter at @DanMounser - and don't forget to follow @FanZone too for links to all the latest blogs.

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