Manager Steve Bruce has now held his pre Nottingham Forest press conference ahead of the weekend’s games and he’s looking for Aston Villa to return to winning ways.
With joy again Barnsley backed up by frustration against Middlesbrough, Forest remains a chance to register back to back Championship victories and for every fan throwing their toys after the EFL Cup exit there’s somebody else tanking up on the valium and remaining calm knowing this year the Cup was irrelevant with our stated aims.
Speaking to the Official Site as he met with the media, Bruce seemed confident that with so many changes for the starting line up in midweek, confidence hadn’t been hit too hard and he felt the attitude in the camp coming into this tie was good.
The aim now is the back that up and get on a winning streak.
‘I sincerely hope we can do so. Since our disappointing start, we’ve put together three clean sheets. Add to that Jonathan Kodjia getting back to fitness – it’s given everybody a lift. We had a little break against Barnsley. Albert Adomah was determined to get there for his goal but we got the break, which you need now and again. It’s a big week and it’s important now before the next international break that we accumulate a few points and get ourselves to where we want to be. We have a chance to do that in October – that’s vitally important.’
As for the current atmosphere.
‘There’s nothing like victory to give everybody a lift. It breeds a bit of confidence and we looked a good side. It’s important now that we stick to those standards – it’s never easy in this league and it won’t be easy against Nottingham Forest. A good result always puts everybody in a better frame of mind.’
With Bruce changing everyone for Middlesbrough, he knows that having lost the game in hindsight that was the wrong thing to do, even if the league is the priority this year.
‘I made the decision not to use them and it wasn’t the right one because we got beaten in the Cup. But what’s more important to us is the league, without question. That’s no disrespect to the Cup competition, but we left the XI to focus on the week ahead. We’ve had a good week of training and I’ve purposely left them fresh and fit. We’ll go again as we did against Barnsley.’
As for the opposition more specifically and Mark Warburton.
‘They’re a good side with a very, very good manager. They’re in transition and have had manager after manager over the last few years. But now in Mark Warburton they’ve made a very shrewd appointment and it’ll be a difficult game like they all are. I’m under no illusions that it’ll be tough.’
With Gareth Barry set to break the all time Premier League appearance record this weekend, he obviously featured in the press conference given his long standing tie to the club.
‘He’s been a great player over the years. The way he looks after himself, conducts himself and how fit he is – it’s a great testament of what you can achieve. He’s been a very good player all of his career. Well done to him – it’s some achievement to be the all-time Premier League appearance holder.’
‘He’s one of those players as a manager you can hang your hat on. He can play in a few positions for you – left back, centre back, central midfield. He just gets on with it. He’s a great lad and a great pro.’
As for the injury update, Bruce revealed that Scott Hogan looked set to be fit for the tie despite his substitution against Middlesbrough with an ankle injury but Henri Lansbury won’t feature against his former club as he’s struggling with a knee injury he picked up on Tuesday. Mile Jedinak is again out with his ongoing groin issue.
Gabby Agbonlahor is back in training but Burton Albion is identified as a possible return for him, but Jack Grealish’s return still sees him ‘months rather than weeks’ away from a return – but at least he’s back.
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