THE Championship resumes after the two-week international break and what a game we face – Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.
A few of the lads have been away on international duty and a huge plus was Richard Keogh captaining Republic of Ireland for the game against Oman.
That was great moment for him, and I am sure he is extremely proud, and it is a reward for the consistency he has shown at club level over a number of years.
So Rich will be buzzing, and the lads are really looking forward to the Forest game.
We know it is going to be tough, and a lot tougher than when we last met them in March when we won 5-0.
That game was very strange. We went one up and they had a good 20 to 25 minutes or so but as soon as we got the second goal they didn’t really seem to have the fight in them.
But Forest have added some very good players in the summer.
They have good depth to their squad and if Stuart Pearce manages like he played, he will have them working hard.
I think they will be a threat this season. I think they will be up there battling for promotion.
This feels like the biggest game in the fixture for some years because of where Forest are – they are top and unbeaten – and given the fact we are probably one of the favourites to go up. It is a game everyone is looking forward to.
Will Forest use the 5-0 result of last season and the disappointment to lift them?
They have a different manager, and he will do things his way.
What happened in the fixture at our place in March was nothing to do with Stuart Pearce, he wasn’t at Forest then. He will not be thinking about that.
Some of the Forest players who were involved will remember the disappointment.
I remember when we lost 5-2 at Forest. Such moments are tough, but I think we then won three and drew one of the next five games against Forest.
They will want to bounce back, of course, but what has gone before tends to matter little once the whistle blows in ‘derby’ games.
There is a very different feeling to these fixtures, a very different atmosphere which you sense as soon as you turn up at the City Ground or the iPro Stadium.
There is an expectancy, a nervousness, a real vibe, and it can come down to who holds their nerve and plays the best football on the day.
Summer signings Chris Burke, Michail Antonio and Britt Assombalonga have probably made the biggest difference to Forest, and we know Henri Lansbury has quality.
The boy up front, Assombalonga, is strong, quick, athletic, and he is scoring goals. He has hit four in seven games since arriving from Peterborough United.
We know what it is like to have someone in the team scoring goals. Chris Martin did it for us last season with 25, and he has four this season.
When your striker is scoring, you have always got a chance.
I think there have been one or two games this season when Forest have not played too well, but they have still got results because the new boys have delivered.
But tomorrow (Sunday) is about us playing our normal game rather than worrying about Forest.
If we go to the City Ground believing and playing as we can, then it will be tough for them to withstand us.
We know that when we are on top of our game we are a match for any team in this division.