We speak to blogger Lee Clarke ahead of Nottingham Forest’s visit to the Liberty Stadium this weekend…
How’s your season been so far?
Well one win, one loss and four draws speaks for itself really. Inconsistent. We signed several new players in the summer and whilst that is exciting, it will naturally take time for us to gel as a team.
What are your aims and expectations for this term?
When you spend in the region of £25 million it is perfectly normal to expect the top six as a minimum requirement. Aitor Karanka knows that promotion is firmly within his remit and that is what the club’s hierarchy will be expecting.
Personally, the team gaining an identity and playing nice football would suit a long suffering supporter. Anything in the top 10 would be an achievement after years of disappointment.
You spent fairly heavily over the summer, were you happy with the business you’ve done?
In a word, yes. We needed reinforcements and we duly got them. Obviously proof will be in the pudding as to whether the new recruits are good enough, but a lot of them look really good. Gil Dias is lively, Joao Carvalho offers an abundance of skill, whilst Michael Hefele looks like a real beast at the back.
It’s nice to see a Forest squad that has an abundance of depth for a change and that can only bode well for this season.
One player leaving the City Ground was Barrie McKay who’s joined Swansea. Were you sorry to see him go?
Definitely not. McKay was occasionally brilliant but more often than not frustrating beyond belief. In one particular game against Preston, he was kicked in the first five minutes and spent the rest of the game avoiding the ball.
I have no doubt there is a good player in there somewhere but he’s simply not fit to wipe soil from Joe Lolley’s laces.
Aitor Karanka is starting his first full season at the club. Are you happy with the job he’s done thus far?
I’m not sure happy is the right word as his win ratio is poor. What I have admired, if you like, is the iron fisted approach he has taken of not accepting average anymore.
For years now, too many Forest players have been handed a regular place in the side on the back of not really working hard for it. Thankfully that is changing now.
What do you make of Swansea and which players if any do you fear?
I was very impressed with Oliver McBurnie when he played against us last season and think he will go well with better players around him.
Other than that, I don’t really think we should fear anyone as such, although I think your manager has done superbly well.
To come into a squad and then have your better players leave can’t be easy, but he’s gone about his early season business pretty well.
Predict the score and where both teams will finish
I’m going to go for an optimistic 1-1 and fear McKay will score against us. You’ll score first and will plump for another Matty Cash goal on the road.