Category Archives: Championship

Nottingham Forest v Derby County Preview

It doesn’t get any bigger than this for Nottingham Forest and Derby, in particular, the Fans, they look forward to it from the moment the fixtures are announced in pre-season.

No other match brings the anticipation, excitement, and nerves that this one does. A win will last long in the memory whilst a defeat will haunt you, it’s quite simply the biggest match of the season.

The sides have already met at the City Ground this season, just over 2 months ago Forest ran out comfortable 3-0 winners.

How ever satisfying that night was, this will mean so much more as that night was almost 2 second-string sides.

TEAM NEWS

Forest will more than likely still be without key trio Michael Dawson, Samba Sow and Alfa Semedo. The trio’s absence played a massive role in the recent defeats to Wigan and Hull City, Dawson was said to back in training this week, however a place in the team remains unlikely.

The return of Ryan Yates in midfield helped fill the void left by Sow and Semedo in last weekend’s win over Luton.

I would largely stick with that line up with only Jack Robinson coming in to provide extra defensive nous at left back for Yuri Ribeiro.

Tom Lawrence, who has endured a challenging couple of months after being convicted of drink-driving, netted two goals in Saturday’s Pride Park win over Middlesbrough, a fourth straight home success. He is a key man for Derby, but in my opinion he shouldn’t be available for selection following the drink-driving incident, which also involved teammate Mason Bennett and saw Captain Richard Keogh injured for the season and subsequently suspended by the club.

The Professional Footballers’ Association has said it will “robustly defend” Richard Keogh after his dismissal, the BBC has reported.

Lawrence and Bennett were both fined six weeks’ wages by the Rams and pleaded guilty to drink driving. “We will robustly defend our member because we feel he has been unfairly treated,” said a PFA spokesman.

Keogh, 33, suffered a knee injury in the crash on 24 September and will be out for around 15 months. His contract was due to expire in 2021.

It is understood Derby offered Keogh a revised deal on reduced wages. The player will appeal against Derby’s decision and the PFA have told him they will back him in that and any subsequent challenge to his dismissal because they do not view the treatment of Keogh as being in line with the action taken against Lawrence and Bennett.

In announcing Keogh’s dismissal, Derby said they would not comment further until the outcome of any appeal was known.

In any other professionalism if you are convicted of a serious crime your job would be at risk. The fact that Lawrence is a professional footballer, who is in the public eye and gets to play is sending out the wrong message.

Lawrence is set for unpleasant reception on Saturday but says Derby will be ready for the cauldron atmosphere awaiting them at – and is plotting to silence a sold-out City Ground.

“We all know how big this game is coming on Saturday so we will be ready for it.

“Yes, as expected,” the 25-year-old then said when asked about the vibrant Trentside atmosphere, saying his teammates know what’s needed to record a rare win in Nottingham.

The Rams are looking to claim a first win on Trentside since September 2012, and in the process dent Forest’s promotion hopes.

Form Guide

Forest got back to winning ways last weekend with a 2-1 success away at Luton, this was a vital victory following 2 successive defeats at Wigan and Home to Hull City as the last thing Forest would have wanted would have been to go into the Derby game on the back of three successive defeats.

Although, Forest defender Joe Worrall says, “On track? We were never off it” previous to these defeats Forest hadn’t lost in the league since the opening day of the season and they sit 5th in the table (with a game in hand due to the match against reading being postponed) and have an opportunity to close the gap on league leaders, West Bromwich Albion who are five points in front.

Derby are 10 places below, but only four points behind Forest.

Their home form has kept them in touch with the top six, however, on the road, things have been marked different for the Rams who haven’t tasted victory since the opening night at Huddersfield.

It is sure to be a heated encounter, as ever. A strong referee that won’t fall for any nonsense will be required, there will be some strong challenges and players trying to deceive the referee and it is vital he doesn’t lose control.

He can’t produce unnecessary cards or let players get away with anything early on.

Darren England will be the man in the middle for the match, he has officiated two Forest matches already this season, with the Reds suffering defeats on both occasions.

The pre-match build-up will be added to as Forest will pay tribute to all those who lost their lives in conflict ahead of the match at the City Ground.

Before kick-off, there will be a performance of the Last Post from the Military band, while both sets of players will be sporting the poppy on the front of their shirts for the game itself.

Derby County skipper, Richard Keogh sacked for gross misconduct

Republic of Ireland international, Richard Keogh has been sacked by Derby County over his involvement in a drink driving crash, that’s resulted in two of his team mates arrested.

The 33 year old sustained a serious knee ligament damage that has ruled him out for up to 15 months after midfielder, Tom Lawrence crashed into a lamppost.

Both Lawerence and forward, Mason Bennett pleaded guilty to drink driving.

Keogh started his career off at Stoke City but failed to make an impact and went to Icelandic side, Víkingur on loan before moving to Bristol City; after only 40 appearances and four loan spells at Wycombe Wanderers, Huddersfield Town, Carlisle United and Cheltenham Town.

The defender was sold to Carlisle United for an undisclosed fee, where he went on to make 95 appearances.

After an impressive spell in League One, he was sold to Championship side, Coventry City, where he became a real fans favourite. He played every minute of every game for the 2010-11 season and scored his first goal for Coventry on the last game of the season against Norwich. He was voted Players’ Player of the Year at the end of the 2010–11 season awards for Coventry City.

Keogh played every game for Coventry since signing for the club, until his unfortunate dismissal in the game at home to Doncaster Rovers on 21 April 2012, which brought an end to a run of 91 consecutive games played.

Despite Coventry City’s relegation from the Championship, Keogh won the Player of the Year award for the second consecutive season at Coventry’s end of season awards. He also won the Players’ Player of the Year awards.

After a brilliant two year spell at Coventry, Keogh had to be sold for ongoing money problems the Sky Blues faced.

Keogh was sold to Derby and went on to make 355 appearances for the Rams. Where he won six individual awards as Player of the year, Players’ Player of the year and Supporters’ Player of the year.

In a statement regarding Keogh leaving Derby, the Championship club said that they had “completed the disciplinary hearing regarding Richard Keogh in respect of his involvement in the events of Tuesday 24th September” and that his contract had been “terminated with immediate effect”.

“As we have said from the outset, the club will not tolerate any of its players or staff behaving in a manner which puts themselves, their colleagues, and members of the general public at risk of injury or worse, or which brings the club into disrepute,”

However, Keogh was not driving either car and was just a passenger. Lawerence and Bennett, who were both driving, were fined six weeks’ wages by the club, while Derby magistrates’ court ordered the players to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work, gave them a 12-month community order and banned them from driving for two years.

Nottingham Forest v Reading Postponed

My Initial reaction as a fan to Saturday’s match being postponed due to a waterlogged pitch was one of annoyance.

Forest are in need of a win to put the disappointment of 2 successive defeats behind them and move back into the top 6.

On reflection, the safety of the players is of paramount importance and cannot be risked and as the pictures below show, the correct decision was made. The rearranged fixture has yet to be arranged.

One thing that Forest did to make the most of a bad situation was to donate 3,000 food parcels to the homeless. Instead of letting the pies, pasties and sandwiches go to waste; the club decided to give it to Framework; a homeless charity based in Nottingham, this is the second time it has happened.

Fans praised the move, with one saying, “I love what this club has become – it’s every bit as important as what happens on the pitch as far as I’m concerned.”
Another added: “Well done all at NFFC! A kind gesture that puts a bit of faith back into Human kindness.”

I have to go along with these comments and “Why are more clubs not doing this? It makes perfect sense. The food would’ve been wasted otherwise as Forest don’t have another home match scheduled until the 9th of November (2 weeks from original matchday).

Nottingham’s homelessness is a big problem and gestures such as these go some way to helping.

Back on the pitch, the postponement has meant that Forest’s injured party have longer to recover before a match is played. Michael Dawson, Samba Sow and Alfa Semedo are all on the injury list and their absence has played a massive influence on the two defeats.

In both matches, they have been outmuscled in midfield, which is the problem that Sow and Semedo were brought to the club in the summer to solve. They have also missed Dawson’s leadership at the back having conceded many more chances and goals since his injury.

Report: Sheffield Wednesday 0-0 Leeds United

SHEFFIELD Wednesday and Leeds United played out a goalless draw at a wet Hillsborough on Saturday afternoon.

The Owls and The Whites who are both going for automatic promotion this season cancelled each other out as they had to settle for a point a piece following a 0-0 draw.

It was the hosts who had the games first chance, midfielder Adam Reach, was played through on goal but was denied by a good stop from Leeds keeper’ Kiko Casilla, who raced out of goal to make the stop.

Reach almost got in again after good play from Steven Fletcher, but this time, defender Ben White made a good block to keep his shot out.

It was the Owls who continued to press, Kadeem Harris’ cross found Liam Palmer on the edge of the area, but his effort from 25 yards was brilliantly saved by Casilla before it went behind for a corner.

Leeds’ first chance came when Helder Costa broke into the Sheffield Wednesday’s box and saw his cross cleared for a corner, from the set-piece, defender Luke Ayling couldn’t get his strike away.

Inside the 23rd minute, Costa set up Ezgjan Alioski but his effort from 20-yards was too high and over the top.

With the half drawing to a close both sides won free-kicks. First it was the hosts, but Barry Bannan’s free-kick was poor and easily claimed by Casilla. At the other end, Patrick Bamford was felled by Atdhe Nuihu, but Kalvin Phillips’ delivery wasn’t one of his best and the Owls cleared.

Soon after the first booking of the game arrived when Joey Pelupessy was cautioned for a foul on Costa, before Casilla was forced into action.

Fletcher tried his luck from 25-yards but the Spaniard was equal to it to make a brilliant save, at the other end, Jack Harrison crossed brilliantly for Bamford but only for a superb save from Keiren Westwood kept the scores level.

Half Time: Sheffield Wednesday 0 – Leeds United 0

It was the hosts who started the brighter after the restart, winning a free-kick 25-yards out, Bannan’s effort from the set-piece struck the wall.

Leeds’ first attempt of the second half came on the 50th minute, Harrison to Phillips to strike from 25-yards but his curling effort isn’t far away from finding the top corner.

The Owls’ next move saw Bannan’s lovely centre reach Fletcher but he can’t convert, at the other end, Eddie Nketiah’s effort was thwarted by Westwood. The chances for both teams were pouring in.

Leeds went close to opening the scoring, Nketiah did brilliantly down the left, as he broke into the box, cut back for Harrison whose effort was cleared off the line by Morgan Fox, crossed back in where Alioski sees an header come back off the post.

Harris’ cross-cum-shot was superbly tipped around the post by Casilla who then made another brilliant stop to deny Nuihu.

That was the last meaningful action for either side in the contest, as they kept the pressure on West Bromwich Albion at the top of the Championship.

Full Time: Sheffield Wednesday 0 Leeds United 0

Sheffield Wednesday: Keiren Westwood, Liam Palmer, Morgan Fox, Kadeem Harris, Steven Fletcher, Barry Bannan, Joey Pelupessy (Kieran Lee 84’), Adam Reach, Atdhe Nuhiu (Fernando Forestieri 86’), Sam Hutchinson, Dominic Iorfa. Subs: Cameron Dawson, Sam Winnall, Jordan Thorniley, Jacob Murphy, Moses Odubajo.

Goals: None
Booked: Joey Pelupessy (Foul), Kieran Lee (Foul)

Leeds United: Kiko Casilla, Luke Ayling, Ben White, Patrick Bamford (Eddie Nketiah 45’), Ezgjan Alioski, Stuart Dallas, Helder Costa (Liam Cooper 76’), Jack Harrison, Kalvin Phillips, Gaetano Berardi, Mateusz Klich. Subs: Kamil Miazek, Tyler Roberts, Robbie Gotts, Leif Davis, Jack Clarke.

Goals: None
Booked: None

Referee: Tim Robinson
Assistant Referee: Ian Cooper and Mark Jones
Fourth Official: David Webb

Attendance: 27,516

Royals Part Company With Gomes

READING have announced the sacking of first team manager José Gomes with immediate effect.

A spokesperson on behalf of the Royals issued the following statement:

“Reading Football Club can announce that José Gomes has left his position as first team manager.

Gomes joined the club at the end of December 2018 and successfully steered the club away from the threat of relegation.

However, following just two wins in the first 11 league games in 2019-20, owner Mr Yongge Dai has made the difficult decision to part company with Gomes and make a change at first team level.

We would like to sincerely thank José for his hard work during his tenure as manager at Reading Football Club and we wish him the very best of luck in his future career.

The club will make no additional comment at this time but will provide further updates as soon as possible.”

The news from the Royals comes after reports in the last 48 hours regarding his future at the Madejski Stadium.

Following last weekend’s defeat to Bristol City in the Sky Bet Championship, which left the Royals 22nd in the table, Gomes said he’d be the first to resign if he thought his players had lost faith in him.

Since then rumours of his future had been widespread across social media, but the club have now officially announced the news of his departure.

Reading fans, what do you make to this decision? Who do you want to replace José Gomes? Let us know your thoughts below or on Twitter @247FootballUK.