Greetings fellow Trickies. Ok, so it has been a while but I really didn't want to to have to go through the pain of dissecting the Blackpool saga.
A summer of cricket and the World Cup has finally let the utter frustration of that game fade a little so now here we all are, looking forward to a new season on Trentside with optimism having been installed as one of the bookmakers' favourites right......well, er no. This is Nottingham Forest after all and, these days at least, we don't do optimism.
To be fair us fans have been ground down by years of disappointment at the City Ground and, this summer again, find ourserlves scratching our heads at the gossip floating around the world wide web.
The Billy vs The Panel row has been aired a fair few times now but I don't think I'm alone in wishing it would just go away. I'm tired of talk about why things haven't gone right in the past/are stalling now and wish we had a few signings to chew over.
And signings are the hot topic at the moment. Darren Pratley, Nicky Shorey and Peter Whittingham have been spoken about so often that you'd think they were the only players out there. All would be excellent captures but I don't want us to get bogged down in a January scenario where we missed all our targets and didn't really seem to have back up options.
To me there are two categories of signing. Firstly, the "absolute musts" for which we have no current equivalent. These being a left back (it is shocking that Bennett last played in Dec 08 and might still be the next full time 'proper' left back to pull on the Garibaldi) and left midfield. I've tried coming up with a team from what we have and those are glaring holes, especially the left back berth. We finished the season with Tyson struggling away at left wing, a position he simply doesn't have the trickery, crossing or passing prowess to pull off. These two signings are needed to finish off the first team.
Beyond that there are several positions which we would, ideally, strengthen, before heading up to Turf Moor for the curtain raiser. Additions to central midfield (defensive and attacking), centre defence, back up right back, striker would all make the squad bigger and better equipped to go one better than last time around. This may sounds like luxury stuff but for me a lack of squad depth was one of the things that killed off our automatic charge last year. When the midfield/strikers faltered through injury/form no-one really made a strong case to unseat them in the long term.
In truth, embracing the Forest pessimism, I'd be more than happy with 'just' the musts as things stand. At least we appear to be chasing players who would genuinely make the team better; signings for the sake of it would make us Sheffield United and no-one wants to emulate that bunch.
If we do, the pessimism really ought to lift. We were close last time and ran out of steam. We have a decent side on paper that just needs a tinker, unlike the wholesale upheaval of last summer, and should benefit from the familiarity of the squad in the early weeks (apart from at Burnley where we always lose...!).
At the moment frustration reigns, get those musts in the bag, quieten those rumours of unrest and we can get on with concentrating on the season at last...