Why I’m Writing Off Forest’s Promotion Chances

One of the disappointing aspects of the football season over the last two months for me has been the slump that Nottingham Forest have been going through. The slump which has seen them win only once in their last 12 games has really put the brakes on their promotion-push this season.

Yes I know there are still five games left to play before the playoff positions are still decided and Forest could still yet grab that vital sixth position. But the way that things have gone recently, as much as it hurts me to say it as a Forest fan, I think that our chances of promotion this season are over.

It’s been quite strange how things have gone recently, as it’s less than two months ago since the team put on a fantastic performance to draw 1-1 with QPR at Loftus Road. It was quite an effort from the team to get out of London with a point, especially after the early sending-off of Radosław Majewski seemingly put the game out of reach against the league favourites.

Sadly though, aside from a win against fellow play-off contenders Cardiff City at the City Ground, points have been hard to come by for Billy Davies’ men. Yes the team have had to battle with injuries lately, the loss of form of some players and they’ve had to play some good teams of late – but for quite a lot of Forest fans, this bad form was something that was easily predictable.

With a squad still in some quarters out of depth and inexperienced, there was a feeling that the team would hit a bad patch, but this of course has been a dreadful run. Obviously the defeats to Swansea, Leeds and Reading yesterday haven’t helped matters, but one game for me stands out as a sign that things were not going to be going Forest’s way over the last couple of months.

That game in question was the 2-2 home draw against bottom-placed Preston at the City Ground. Coming of the back of the win over Cardiff only days earlier, Forest were cruelly denied a win when Billy Jones headed Preston an equaliser six minutes into injury time.

The team have not recovered from that game and it looks as if Preston’s late-show knocked Forest for six after they themselves had gone ahead in the 92nd minute when Chris Cohen’s cross into the box found its way into the net.

Over the course of a season, it’s expected that you will both score and concede late goals, but the manner of that late blow by Preston hit the team hard. Draws at Millwall and Middlesbrough were then followed by the club’s proud 36-match unbeaten home run – lasting an astonishing 18 months – falling to Nigel Pearson’s improving Hull City.

Since the defeat to the Tigers, only a solitary point has been picked up by Davies’ men and that came as a result of a dire goalless draw against lowly Doncaster at home. Recent results have just shown that the team are just not ready for the Premiership and that the best thing for the team would be to improve on the squad and start stronger next season.

With a good core group of players, Forest will be better of next season. However Davies and the fans will be praying that the talented young players at the club like Majewski, Paul Anderson, Guy Moussi and the outstanding Lewis McGugan are still at the club next season.

After all, as good as those players are should they move on to play at a higher level, it will be very hard to bring in players of a similar level who will be able to hit the ground running right from the off.

As for my prediction as to who will win the play-offs, Reading – Forest’s victors over the weekend – are probably the form-team in the division at the moment, having won their last 7 games.

Momentum is often very important at this stage of the season and with only one difficult game away to Leeds coming up before the season ends, they’re my pick to win the play-offs or at least be the losing finalists come the 30th May.

Adam Dennehey – http://twitter.com/#!/ADennehey87

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