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Thursday 11th October 2012 15:24

O'Driscoll: tough tests ahead

O'Driscoll: tough tests ahead

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Nottingham Forest FanZoner Dan Mounser is hoping the owners and fans are patient with Sean O'Driscoll.

O'Driscoll needs time to get Forest back on track

Daily Telegraph football writer Henry Winter took a dip in the River Tyne this week after losing a bet about how long Alan Pardew would last at Newcastle United.

In the fickle business that is football, he probably thought his prediction from 2010 was still worthwhile until Pardew committed to his eight-year contract recently.

With managers seemingly only a couple of bad results away from the dreaded vote of confidence nowadays, the pressure cooker may only be one spark away from igniting at most clubs.

I'm sure Nottingham Forest manager Sean O'Driscoll is no different. But when the Al Hasawi family took ownership of the club in the summer, they were quick to point out that although they obviously wouldn't say no this season, the objective of a serious push for promotion isn't expected until next season at the earliest.

The squad is taking shape and progressing but as we all know, things can change quickly in football.

I hope for O'Driscoll, the club and for the fans sake that they stick to their word and give him and the squad time to gel and grow together. There's no need for any kneejerk reactions to consecutive defeats or anything. After all, it happens in football and especially if or when you get to the Premier League.

Understandably, losing to your biggest rivals doesn't help but the Reds are well and truly a work in progress and will undoubtedly get better as time goes on this season.

With Fawaz Al Hasawi's previous managerial experience in Kuwait and the financial commitment it has taken for the family to buy the club, it could be tempting to have the finger on the trigger a little earlier than necessary but it's imperative that O'Driscoll is given the time and backing to succeed - whether that be this season or next.

In my opinion there a few issues that could be addressed to help and that could also make the difference between challenging near the top or languishing in mid table.

width

Forest have been playing with a narrow formation but are crying out for natural wingers to open up the play to fit in with the short passing style that O'Driscoll has implemented at all his previous clubs. This may be because of personnel in the squad of course but an example is when Gillett is having to hold on to the ball longer to allow the full backs to overlap due to the lack of width that the current side has. It would also enable a 'plan B' as such where we could play an out-and-out 4-4-2 if needs be.

The second and most important thing is pace. The whole side lacks that acceleration and pace that can stretch defenders or counter attack on the break and especially in wide areas. Someone along the lines of Swansea's Wayne Routledge or Cheltenham's Jermaine McGlashan (if they were to become available) would give the Reds that little something extra that they lack at the moment.

Finally it's tempo in the final third. O'Driscoll's sides always keep the ball and play the 'correct' way but there are times when the tempo could be quicker to prevent the opposition getting more men behind the ball. Quick and one-touch passing in those areas will undoubtedly create more chances than being patient and waiting for openings. With the quality in midfield and attack, the players are more than capable of this with a little bit of confidence.

But considering the lack of owner, manager and whole squad for the majority of the summer, I think Reds fans can be reasonably pleased with the start we have made going into the second International break.

There are two tough tests coming up with Cardiff City at the City Ground and the old nemesis Blackpool afterwards, but if the Tricky Trees can come away unscathed from these games then the future looks bright and who knows what the Al Hasawis have planned for the January Transfer Window?

As far as predictions of where Forest and O'Driscoll will be in May, I'll use Henry Winter as an example that anything can happen. I also don't fancy a swim in the River Trent with the swans and shopping trolleys.

You can follow Dan on Twitter @DanMounserNFFC

Henry Winter was raising money for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation which helps raise awareness of the early detection and treatment of cancer. To support this wonderful charity, please visit www.sirbobbyrobsonfoundation.org.uk

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