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Town End Season Away Against Relegation-Haunted Forest
Friday, 5th May 2017 21:29

Town visit Nottingham Forest for the final game of their disappointing 2016/17 season on Sunday looking for their first win at the City Ground since December 1999, a victory which could relegate the hosts (Sky Sports 3, from 11.30am, KO midday).

Former skipper Matt Holland netted the only goal when George Burley’s Blues defeated the Tricky Trees 1-0 on their way to the Premier League via the play-offs, but since then Town have gone 11 games without a win on Forest turf.

The home side go into Sunday’s match fourth from bottom but ahead of Blackburn, who are managed by Tony Mowbray, a member of that 1999/00 Town team which won at the City Ground, in 22nd by a goal difference of just one.

Rovers are at Brentford, while Birmingham, who play Bristol City away, are one place and two points above Forest with a significantly poorer goal difference.

Forest will be safe if they match Blackburn’s result as long as they don’t both win and there isn't a two-goal turnaround in the Lancastrians' favour.

Relegation back into League One, from which they escaped in 2007/08 after a three-year stay, would come after several seasons of sliding in the wrong direction under Kuwaiti businessman Fawaz Al Hasawi, who took over in July 2012. Since then Forest have finished eighth, 11th, 14th and then 16th last season.

Current boss Mark Warburton is their 10th full-time or caretaker-manager since McCarthy took charge at Town in November 2012 - after turning down an interview at Forest the previous summer - having taken over midway through March.

Asked whether he would have sympathy for the one-time Brentford and Rangers boss should the Blues see his side into League One, McCarthy said: “No more than I feel for all the others. And it’s not a great deal because they wouldn’t be offering me any sympathy.

“They’d be like, ‘It’s unlucky, Mick’s gone down, he hasn’t spent of money…’. They wouldn’t give a flying one if that happened. They wouldn’t, just as long as it’s not them. And I feel exactly the same. There’s no sympathy coming from me.”

Despite the Blues having nothing left to play for, aside from which position between 15th and 18th they finish, and the game being live on Sky, Town will take a travelling army likely to be approaching 1,500 to the City Ground.

“We’ve had a wonderful away support this season,” McCarthy added. “We’ve had great support all the time and I’ve been to two supporters’ functions over the last week and they’ve been great.

“I think I’ve said before in the past that I’ve been quite humbled by the feeling towards us. It’s been tough but they’re still supporting us.”

Despite last week’s 1-0 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday, McCarthy is unlikely to stray too far from the team which had previously beaten Burton and Newcastle over Easter.

Bartosz Bialkowski will be in goal with Jordan Spence at right-back and Myles Kenlock at left-back with skipper Luke Chambers - fresh from signing his new two-year contract - and Christophe Berra - who could be playing his last game for the club - at the heart of the defence.

In midfield, Cole Skuse will probably be joined by Emyr Huws and Grant Ward. Danny Rowe is likely to come into the side for the injured Tom Lawrence, but probably on the right of the three-man attack with Freddie Sears moving to the left.

Former Forest striker David McGoldrick is a doubt with a neck problem but will start if fit with Brett Pitman his likely deputy if the Nottingham-born frontman fails to make it.

For Forest, Danny Fox, Zach Clough and Jack Hobbs are all doubts for a game which will be played in front of a sell-out home crowd at the City Ground.

Forest boss Warburton says his players need to relish the pressure they will be under: “We look forward to the challenge and we have to respond accordingly. We trained well today and will look to deliver a performance.

“It’s very important to stay in the division. We're aware of the significance of the game and we are focused on getting a result.

“You have to be aware of other results but the focus will be on us; the game can change so quickly so we have to look at ourselves.

“Our job is to prepare the team and make sure they see it as a positive challenge. There'll be a big crowd and they need to enjoy it.

“You enjoy fighting for cups and promotion, but not relegation. I hope this is a first and last time for us being down here.

“There'll be a good atmosphere on Sunday and the fans will feel all the ups and downs of the day. We need them behind us.

“The supporters are passionate and so are the players. They recognise their responsibilities and they have to enjoy that pressure.

“You have to start games fast and if you don't, the opposition will. Ipswich will come here looking to win so let's see how it goes.”

He believes the club can move in the right direction if they confirm their Championship status: “If we can stay up there is lots to be optimistic about. The potential here is enormous with the great young players coming through.”

Blues captain Chambers joined Town on a Bosman free transfer after departing the City Ground in the summer of 2012 and was targeted by his old club on deadline day in January.

Striker McGoldrick signed on loan from Forest in January 2013 before putting pen to paper on a permanent deal the following summer.

Blues loanee Jonny Williams, who has been ruled out for the season with a hamstring injury and has now returned to Crystal Palace, was on loan at the City Ground between September and January last season, scoring one goal in four starts and six sub appearances.

Currently out-of-favour Forest keeper Stephen Henderson was on loan with the Blues from West Ham twice in the 2012/13 season making 24 appearances. He moved to the City Ground last summer but has made only 14 starts and one sub appearance.

Historically, Forest very much have the upper hand, winning 35 of the games between the two sides (32 in the league), with 18 (17) ending in draws and Town winning 21 (20).

In November at Portman Road, two Britt Assombalonga goals, the first after 17 seconds, the fastest in the Championship this season, and the second in first-half injury time, saw Forest to a 2-0 victory over the Blues, their first away win of the season.

Town huffed and puffed as they looked for a way back into the game in the second half but never seriously threatened a resolute Forest backline.

Last time teams met at the City Ground in October 2015, former Town midfielder Liam Trotter - who was on loan from Bolton Wanderers - denied his old club their first win on Forest territory since 1999 deep into injury time with a debut goal as the Blues and Forest drew 1-1. Earlier, sub Jonny Parr’s 74th minute goal had given Town the lead.

Pre-match, the Broken Wheelbarrow at Notts County’s Meadow Lane will be open from 10am until kick-off to Town fans only. There will be a full bar available, as well as snack food. The bar is situated on Meadow Lane, next to the club shop and ticket office.

Sunday’s referee is Andy Davies from Hampshire, who has shown 134 yellow cards and four red in 37 games so far this season.

Davies’s most recent Town match was the 3-0 home victory over Wigan last month, in which he booked Kenlock, Ward, Toumani Diagouraga and two Latics.

He also refereed the 2-0 defeat at Huddersfield in January in which he booked Berra, Bru, Lawrence, Jonathan Douglas, Paul Digby and no home players.

Davies has only taken charge of two other Town matches, both of which ended goalless and both of which saw the opposition reduced to 10 men.

He officiated in the 0-0 draw with Brighton and Hove Albion in September last year, in which he showed eight yellow cards, two of them and then a red to Seagulls midfielder Dale Stephens. Chambers, Douglas, Lawrence and Josh Emmanuel were the Town players cautioned.

Prior to that, he took control of the 0-0 home draw with Huddersfield in October 2015 when he red-carded Terriers striker James Vaughan for a second bookable offence in the final minute.

Squad from: Bialkowski, Gerken, Chambers (c), Kenlock, Emmanuel, Spence, Berra, T Smith, Digby, Skuse, Huws, Dozzell, Douglas, Bru, Ward, Rowe, McGoldrick, Sears, Pitman, Samuel, Moore.

Photo: TWTD

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Matt_Portman added 21:40 - May 5
Please don't start pitman. Play Samuel as target man with Sears, or drop Dozzell in free role behind him. Pits offers so little when he starts

christiand added 22:07 - May 5
Looking forward to more national tv embarrassment when we fail to turn up. Those watching questioning, 'That side in blue are p*ss poor, how did they escape relegation?' Just thankful this is the last game of the season, but certainly not looking forward to next season with much optimism either judging by the news stories on here today.

Mark added 23:13 - May 5
So even if we win tomorrow the best we can hope for is the worst league finish since 1966? At least that year we had the World Cup to cheer us up, whereas this year it is ITFC's tour of Ireland (again).

Penguinblue added 03:09 - May 6
Good luck to those supporters who pay to go to the club events, but I do not think they are representatives of the home and away supporters who want McCarthy out (negative, dire football, one trick pony, tactically inept, arrogant, foul mouthed and contemptuous of fans).

Looking forward to last game of season and the atmosphere, but as ever from the story McCarthy is deluded. Hope it is his last game tarnishing our club.


walberblue added 04:36 - May 6
what a sad deluded manager. unfortunately its not about football at ITFC anymore. its now the will of the fans against a stubborn immovable object, bottom six mick.

why doesn't anyone pull him up about the facts, since villa played 20, won 4 drawn 10 lost 6, that 19th in the form table. how is that proof this fool is going to change things round?

all we have is loads of guff about nothing.

next year don't expect any improvement or anything different however it will be a pleasure to watch MM proof he is one of the least talented and most stubborn ego driven managers. we will see him prove that to everyone and himself, finally, no ifs or buts completely useless,

Nott Forrest 3 ITFC 1


walberblue added 04:42 - May 6
Mick McCarthy, the Corbyn of the football world,

Completely deluded and walking head first into disaster because he thinks he' s more important than the club and the fans,

Lord_Mac added 05:18 - May 6
>forest will be safe if they match Blackburn’s result as long as they don’t both win and there isn't a two-goal turnaround in the Lancastrians' favour.<

To take a break from MM for a moment, surely if both LOSE with a two-goal turnaround that would also relegate Forest?

Sam added 06:35 - May 6
Please Town. Try and play some football in front of the nation. Pretend it's a cup final. In other words: Play your hearts out.

Suffolk_n_Proud added 06:57 - May 6
Lord- only 3 teams get relegated and Rotherham and Wigan are already down

Brownie added 07:04 - May 6
A tough one to predict.....Hmm let me see..

They have lots to play for & are at home. They beat us easily in the reverse fixture & our record on 📺 is absolutely appalling.

Sorry Mogga I have some bad news - 3-1 defeat to end what has been a very poor season & then a summer of transfer rumours followed by loan players & journeymen free transfers. We will then be expected to believe things will be better and they won't.

I hope I'm wrong though! Good luck to all the blue army.


jas0999 added 07:57 - May 6
There is no pressure on us. So let's not do our normal and look to defend and bore. Set up to beat a team fourth bottom. Attack from minute one.

itfchorry added 09:41 - May 6
McCarthy OUT

Paddy39 added 10:11 - May 6
The answer for this team is "Feck Off". I don't want to go on holiday injured I have already booked my flights so they will perform cr@p in front of the camera's. By the way when you see your players in the papers scoring 4 or 5 (out of 10) for what they have given on the pitch, thats less than 50% of what then can give. Sorry you can't blame MM and TC for that. I hope they beat Forest and keep Tony Mowbrat & Blackburn up. Would be nice to help Mogga out.

dangerous30 added 10:55 - May 6
Come on town

Fen69 added 17:41 - May 6
3-1 Win for Forest, Fawaz to give MM a golden hand shake thinking he threw it on purpose.

RegencyBlue added 19:06 - May 6
“I think I’ve said before in the past that I’ve been quite humbled by the feeling towards us. It’s been tough but they’re still supporting us.”

Undoubtedly some are but the rumoured fall in season ticket sales would indicate many have had enough Mr McCarthy!

whosroundisitanyway added 20:08 - May 6
Suffolk n Proud
Think what Lord Mac is saying, if Blackburn lost 1-0 & Forest lost 3-0 Forest would be relegated. Slim chance of the latter I think.

dirtydingusmagee added 20:59 - May 6
cant wait till final whistle , and hopefully some good news in coming weeks. Wont be holding my breath though .

itfchorry added 21:08 - May 6
Just in case you couldn't hear us in the
North Stand on your lap of appreciation -

Think it went like this........

We want you to GO
We want you to GO.......


shakytown added 21:17 - May 6
Wish this was Mucks last game but sadly I think not.

cat added 08:09 - May 7
Brownie - good post!! I bet you got a wee wager on that score line?? I won't be though as I done me 'nuts' and more at the GUINEAS yesterday :(


Suffolk_n_Proud added 08:36 - May 7
Ah I see, that's the reason I rarely post.lol

JimmyP45 added 10:20 - May 7
Forest can breathe a sigh of relief and not worry about relegation. This will probably be their easiest game of the season.

Bluetone added 10:28 - May 7
Quote McCarthy "I think I’ve said before in the past that I’ve been quite humbled by the feeling towards us. It’s been tough but they’re still supporting us.”

McCarthy humble the ego maniac is having a laugh. As to the rest of the quote I didn't know Specsavers sold rose tinted spectacles.

Kesgraveblue57 added 10:50 - May 7
never mind folks McCarthy will lead us into the play-offs next season I promise you

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