Writer: Tom Bodell
Date:Friday September 23 2011
IT'S AN old football dilemma - is it a good or a bad thing to face a side that are presently busy licking their wounds? Well Watford will find out at 5.15pm on Saturday when they host Nottingham Forest live on the Beeb.
Steve McClaren's Tricky Trees are doing exactly that after they blew an early lead and a man advantage against fierce rivals, Derby County on Saturday at the City Ground.
It's been a baptism of fire for McClaren who appears to be at loggerheads with the board on top of everything else.
The reason? The same problem that his predecessor Billy Davies had - short-armed chairman syndrome. The fact that Nigel Doughty is owed circa £65m by the club might have something to do with that though...
Not that Forest have been quiet in the transfer market since McClaren's arrival. The former England, Middlesbrough, FC Twente and Wolfsburg coach has already been able to bring in five of his own players at a total cost exceeding £1.8m at the very least.
The areas that needed strengthening are clear in McClaren's recruiting policy s far. Striker's Matt Derbyshire and Ishmael Miller have signed from Olympiakos and West Brom respectively whilst Andy Reid, Jonathan Greening and George Boateng have pepped up a midfield that looked desperately short.
Even with five summer additions it's still a squad that lacks senior numbers with the likes of Rob Earnshaw, Dele Adebola, Joe Garner, Julian Bennett, Nathan Tyson, Kelvin Wilson and skipper Paul McKenna all departing over pre-season.
Saturday's defeat is just the tip of the iceberg for a squad that has five points from seven games and can't stop shipping goals - 13 in total. Even Forest's proud home record is faltering with just two draws from their first four at the City Ground and only four goals witnessed by the home faithful.
This is quickly looking like a big ask for McClaren, but does he have the answers?
As if things could get much worse for Forest, talismanic midfielder Chris Cohen picked up a knee injury on Saturday joining George Boateng (ankle), Paul Anderson (hamstring), Dexter Blackstock and Garath McCleary (both knee) in the treatment room.
Watford have no such problems with Stephen McGinn (knee), their only long-term issue, though the Scot is 'ahead of schedule' in his recovery. Last Saturday's disappointing draw at Oakwell could prompt Sean Dyche into making some changes however.STOP PRESS: Andi Weimann re-called by Aston Villa, leaving Chris Iwelumo,Troy Deeney and Joe Garner competing to partner him.
Watford: Loach; Doyley, Mariappa, Taylor, Dickinson; Yeates, Eustace, Hogg, Forsyth; Iwelumo & Sordell.
Nottingham Forest: Camp; Gunter, Chambers, Morgan, Lynch; Moussi, Greening (c), Reid, Majewski; Miller & Derbyshire.
Match Officials: (R) Mr R Madley; (AR's) Mr H Lennard & Mr S Ruberry; (4th) Mr P Miller.
Date:Friday September 23 2011
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