Cardiff point HAS to be springboard

Last updated : 01 February 2004 By Daniel Mounser
You can never complain when your team keeps a clean sheet. George Graham at Arsenal lived by it. Start from the back and rely on the rest was his motto and Forest in their current situation have no other method available to them.

Davy Oyen got 90 minutes under his belt to add to the 90 minutes he had in the reserves on Tuesday night. Chris Doig and Des Walker were superb at the back and Gareth Williams had one of his best games in a Forest shirt and was unlucky when his shot came back off the post in the first half.

That's not taking anything away from the rest of the boys. They all worked their socks off and fully deserved their point.

The most important thing though is building on that performance. Everyone thought Forest's 1-0 win over West Brom in the FA Cup 3rd Round was going to be a turning point but it didn't come. This time we HAVE to turn some sort of corner before it's too late.

Forest's next five fixtures are Coventry (h), Walsall (h), Rotherham (a), Gillingham (h) and Bradford (h). No disrespect to any of those teams but if The Reds want to stay in this division then we need at least 10 points. With four of those games at The City Ground, 10 points is virtually a must.

Without wanting to look too far ahead and wishing the season away, Forest's run-in looks difficult to say the least so potentially, the fixtures in February and March could decide our fate.

On paper they look more "win-able" than your West Hams, Sunderlands and West Broms but I'm sure Paul Hart will not underestimate any of them. Afterall, there's no easy games in this division.

Going to Cardiff yesterday brought home just how close we came to the playoff final last season. The Millennium Stadium shone on a dull day weather-wise but the players shone brighter in arguably their biggest test of their professional careers so far - avoiding relegation to Division Two.

You can back Taylor and King to the hill but they have to start scoring goals sooner rather than later and it's not fair to pile all the pressure on them, goals from midfield is a priority as well. Sonner came close against Sheffield United and Williams hit the post at Cardiff so the signs are there and I truely believe it's only a matter of time before we click into place and get out of this mess.

The majority of fans are behind the manager, only a tiny minority want him out and I think we've shown in recent weeks just how much Paul Hart means to us proper fans. He understandably looked under pressure at Ninian Park and I've been informed he didn't partake in any after-match interviews. I feel sorry for him.

First-team coach Ian Bowyer has been doing interviews all week, perhaps allowing Hart to concentrate on the task in hand or perhaps he's just had enough of the same questions week in week out. Do you think the strikers are good enough? Too good to go down? Regret selling...bla bla etc etc.

Forest never get good press. Even in the successful Premiership days we were always significantly overlooked which is why I'm glad to see reports praising Bolton Wanderers getting into the League Cup Final. A great achievement which shouldn't be ignored.

I don't want this feature to turn into something as long as the bible so I'll leave you with this. It's from The Wales on Sunday newspaper talking about Forest from a neutral perspective:

"Battling Forest showed a real fighting spirit that will stand them in good stead as they bid to lift clear of the trap-door."

Come on You Reds.