After 105 days without a competitive match of football Nottingham Forest are back tomorrow to face Sheffield Wednesday at an empty Hillsborough in a re-invigorated attempt to kick-start their Championship promotion push after 21 years of Premier League absence.
We all know what has happened since Millwall and the tragic ‘more important’ events that have kicked football into touch globally but with the Premier League having returned on Wednesday attention now draws to the second tier of English football and towards those three places that offer clubs an opportunity to make the promise land.
Ahead of the game in South Yorkshire, Reds Manager Sabri Lamouchi stated “We have nine games to play to try to achieve our target.”
“To be in this position in the play-offs is very important for the club and all Forest fans. If we want to be there at the end, we have to restart very focused and ready mentally.”
On the Championship and football’s long awaited return Lamouchi furthered “It is different to before but we need to restart not only for the football, but for the people, for the clubs and for the fans.”
“It is a very strange time, nobody three or four months ago could imagine this could happen. Unfortunately it did and we have to take the right decisions, adapt and find the right solution and the right way to work.”
“We have a good squad, they are very professional and they work very hard. Nobody came back overweight or with any problems. It was important to work all together, the beginning was tough to make a session with just four or five players but it is nice to share some time with all of the players.”
Reds defender Joe Worrall, glad to be back playing himself, is looking to put a couple of records straight after Forest’s disappointing performance in their last match prior to the seasons suspension, he also remembers the day in December Sheffield Wednesday came to the City Ground and put the game to bed before half time. Worrall said “The last game we played was Millwall at home which wasn’t great, but if you have a look at the times we have had bad results, we have always bounced back straight away.”
“We don’t dwell on things like that and we have had a long time to think about that game, I have still not watched it back because I don’t want to, but it is still on our minds that we need to put the last result behind us and push on.”
“We owe Sheffield Wednesday one as well because they did us at The City Ground. It is a great stadium to go to, Hillsborough, and Sheffield Wednesday are a good team in their own right.”
The Hucknall born centre half summarised stating “It will be an interesting fixture with the football in an empty stadium, you have to put it all to one side and think that we have the remaining games left (to gain promotion), it is the same for everybody, 11 v 11 and we will give it a good go.”
Forest will go into the game having won just one of their last six but with a new fresh approach ‘form’ is long forgotten and in some ways this will be like the start of another (mini) season ahead. Wednesday who were well beaten at Brentford last time out were themselves midst poor form with just one league win in ten. A clean slate for both clubs will no doubt be what’s required under the new ‘normal’ with Forest as before keen to pick up points on the road to continue their push towards the Premier League.
Remember kick off is tomorrow at 3pm and you can watch it live on iFollow.
*Main image @NFFC Sabri Lamouchi hoping to enjoy a big nine (or more) remaining games for Forest.