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Winning at home is key to survival

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Winning at home is key to survival

Post by enigma on Thu Jan 15, 2009 7:55 am

ROBERT Earnshaw has called on Nottingham Forest to recreate their superb away form on home soil at the City Ground to fire them up the Championship table.

The Welsh international grabbed his third goal in as many games in the 2-0 win at Charlton on Saturday.

It kept the Reds out of the relegation zone as they extended their unbeaten run on the road to nine games in all competitions with a fourth consecutive away victory.

But at home they have won only twice in 13 league games and Earnshaw knows it is imperative this improves – starting with Plymouth on Saturday.

The striker said: "You want to play well at home but if you are playing well away, the fans won't mind whichever way we do it.
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"But we want the balance of doing well at home and away and if we do that, that is huge.

"That is what the Wolves and the Readings do. They do it away, then they do it at home. They get wins all over the place.

"As soon as you get that balance, that is when you start pushing up the table and that is the difference.

"That is where we are trying to get to, getting the wins at home as well as away and then you will quietly see us flowing up the table.

"There are still four months left, lots of games and points to play for, so we have to get that consistency and that is what we are trying to do."

Despite their improved form, Forest are still only one point above the drop zone with 19 games to play.

"We had a meeting a few weeks ago, a good look at the seven or eight games up until February time and there are games we need to win and show what we can do," he said.

"Things are going well for us, but the main thing is we keep it going because this game is brutal, as we have found out earlier in the season. We did well one game and the next game we were awful.

"We have to be clever and do what we do and hopefully the goals will keep going because that is going to be huge for us.

"The big thing about last Saturday was a clean sheet because the first 20 minutes you thought they might get a goal here but our defence kept us in it and then we broke away and scored two goals. It was game over then."

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Re: Winning at home is key to survival

Post by enigma on Thu Jan 15, 2009 7:57 am

NOTTINGHAM Forest keeper Paul Smith has returned with a bang. Cast into the wilderness under Colin Calderwood, his two-and-a-half-year stint in the Reds goal came to an abrupt end when Lee Camp arrived on loan in October.

Just over two months went by and Smith was often not even on the bench, the forgotten man at the City Ground.

He was upset – and who could blame him. But at times he was criticised for not commanding his box.

Then in came Camp from QPR who became a fans' favourite, hardly putting a foot, or hand, wrong.

But when his loan expired at the turn of the year, Smith was thrown back in against Manchester City.
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Smith's response, a fine shot-stopping display and another against Charlton in the 2-0 win on Saturday. Two matches, two clean sheets.

Full credit to him.

I have always said he is one of the best shot-stoppers in the business. I just wanted him to command his area and talk more to his defenders.

Peter Shilton was a great shot-stopper but he did not always take charge of his area. But even if he did not get to things, he would still keep doing it. He would back himself.

And that is what Smith has to do.

He is such a dominant figure and has such a big physique for a goalkeeper.

And, for me, he has the ability to be one of the best goalkeepers in England. The problem is, he has to believe in himself.

I feel that is what has been his downfall in the past. He hasn't backed himself when he should have.

But his response after being recalled has been excellent. He obviously wants it more than ever and maybe the arrival of Camp has given him the kick up the backside he needed.

With a new manager in Billy Davies at the helm, he has another chance and so far his response has been excellent and he is taking it with both hands.

Now, as well as his shot-stopping, I want to see him boss his area, dominate his defenders and be a man of stature in that 18-yard box.

He has the potential, he has the ability. I want to see him back himself and he could be a major player in Forest's season, as he has proved in the last two games.

But the clean sheet is not all down to Smith. The defence has done a great job and the return and experience of Ian Breckin has obviously helped in achieving that.

The win on Saturday came despite having their backs against the wall for the first 30 minutes. But when the chances came, they took them and that is the difference. A clean sheet to build on and taking chances are paramount to getting out of trouble.

That was not being achieved before and maybe when they missed chances, there was a carefree attitude to it before.

But with Billy Davies now in charge, they know he will take no prisoners. If he is unhappy with something, he will tell the player face to face.

If someone is not performing, they will be out. And maybe knowing that has spurred them on when it matters.

The Reds are by no means clear of danger – they are very much still in trouble.

But the signs are a lot more positive.

They just have to start winning games at the City Ground like they are on the road at present.

Chances are being taken and clean sheets being recorded, you cannot do more than that.

And if Smith believes in himself, he can forget about his personal nightmare of being frozen out at the end of 2008.

He can prove himself to be Davies' number one and play a pivotal part in helping Forest stay up.

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