So the unbeaten run ends, which was always going to happen, and as one fan optimistically texted to Radio Nottingham, “At least it means the run didn’t end against Derby”.
Let’s be honest, Forest have struggled to maintain their sparkling start to the season, and that is partly because other teams have seen enough of us now to do their homework. However, there is a plan B, which didn’t actually work that well against Crystal Palace, but which got us out of jail against Birmingham and at least put Leeds under pressure, if not actually creating many chances.
Personally, I am not sure I am a fan of starting with three at the back, preferring to keep it in reserve. The other thing is that I am not sure that the Forest defence are strong enough with four at the back, never mind three. Dani Ayala is undoubtedly a talent, but as with many young players, is going to make mistakes, and his hot-headedness almost earned him a red card against Birmingham.
Perhaps the industry and skill of Henri Lansbury will make a difference – with him and Gueds vying for a place, it may protect the back four a little more. However, as we knew, Gueds can blow a little hot and cold and Lansbury will need a little time, I think.
The big match happens next Sunday, and obviously both teams will be looking to restore some pride as well as gain a scalp. The good news is that competition for places has clearly benefitted the squad; Blackstock, Sharp and Cox know that they cannot be complacent, and there is plenty of competition in the middle of the park too. It’s going to be a long old season, but at least we know that things are on the up.