We spoke to Nottingham Forest fan @Ranny_Fash about tonight’s game, what we can expect and former Villan Lewis Grabban.
Words by Harry Trend (@HazaTrand)
Aston Villa host Nottingham Forest in a battle of 9th v 7th tonight.
What were your expectations going into the season?
After the huge outlay in the summer – including smashing our transfer record – there’s been plenty of optimism and excitement about the season ahead, it’s taken a while to get going but we’re finally starting to see the signs of what Aitor Karanka wants.
We’re hard to beat (hopefully this doesn’t come back to bite me on the arse after the match) but also offering plenty of attacking threat – the ‘Pulis lite’ reputation Karanka seems to have isn’t really justified as you’ll hopefully see later. But to go back to the question, we’re after promotion and we’re sitting nicely just off the radar and we’ve not really hit our stride just yet…
With Forest currently sitting just outside the play-offs what’s changed since last season?
Basically the entire team has. 17 new signings, they’ve taken a while to bed in and for Karanka to get his ideal 11 sorted but we seem to have done that now. We’ve got a strength in depth now that’s been missing for many a season, so if we lose someone, we aren’t sticking square pegs in round holes anymore – years of embargoes and poor signings have finally been forgotten and we’ve a squad who’s buying into what the manager wants to do.
How important has Lewis Grabban been for Forest since signing permanently from Bournemouth?
Well he had a slow start, and in some games really didn’t seem to be bothered, but once he got that first goal he’s woken up. He’s turned into the sniffer we were told he was, he’s got a nasty habit of missing penalties but he’s got the balls to take the next one and score it so we can’t complain. Looks like he’ll be the first player in years to hit 20 goals for us at this rate.
Do you need to strengthen in January? If so where?
We’ve a large squad, but we’ll be losing a couple of fringe midfielders possibly so maybe add another dynamic one of those and a backup left back and if I’m being greedy another keeper wouldn’t go amiss, but other than that we are well stocked in all areas.
If you had to recommend one Forest player for my Telegraph fantasy football team, who would it be and why?
For reliability then Robinson at left back has been as solid as they come, as has Colback in midfield, our record signing Joao Carvalho tops the assists stats and of course there’s Lolley and Grabban. I wonder if either will celebrate if they score? Take your pick out of one of those and you won’t go far wrong.
Where do you see Villa finishing this season?
You should really be going up with that squad, and unfortunately for us I think you’ve now got the manager in place to do that.
Score prediction for Wednesday?
We’re not a pushover anymore and depending on how much you’ve got left in the tank after Sunday’s game with Small Heath it could change how you approach it. We’ve normally played better against the more fancied teams so it could go either way. I’ll go with both teams to score and after that who knows.