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The City Ground can be a fortress

Posted: Fri 17 Feb 2017
Author: NFFC

Nottingham Forest manager Gary Brazil wants to make The City Ground a fortress as he aims for a fourth home win on the spin when Sheffield Wednesday visit tomorrow.

Brazil has overseen three victories on Trentside since taking over as manager and hopes to take the positives from Tuesday’s defeat against Fulham into Saturday’s match.

He said: “There were a lot of good things from the Tuesday performance that we can take forward. We are aware of the situation away from home and we need a win away and we will work hard towards that. 

“Our home form has been excellent in the three games and we have taken full points and that is what we want to do tomorrow. It is always nice to play at The City Ground, it is a fantastic stadium and the fans are great. 

“We have got to make this more of a fortress to take points at home. Everybody was asking questions about how Aston Villa was going to be a tough game and it will be hard to take the points but we sit here now in the same mode. 

“The results in the last two games haven’t gone as we would have liked them to, but I didn’t come away from Craven Cottage disappointed; I was frustrated as I was quite pleased with the performance. 

“We started the game well and got on the front foot and we have looked at the goals conceded and we need to stop doing that. If we had come away with a 2-2 draw, which we gave ourselves a chance to do, we would have said it was a good performance with something to build on at home. 

“We play a way that will try and hurt the opposition and we have become quite resilient in the way we play. In the last couple of games that hasn’t been quite so evident and we need to get back to that.”

Brazil also has selection headaches with Ben Brereton coming into the side and impressing up front by scoring the second goal against Fulham and also whether to continue with Vladimir Stojkovic in goal.

Michael Mancienne will also undergo a fitness test tomorrow to see if he is fit enough to play and Brazil said that whoever has the shirt is in charge of the situation as long as they continue to perform.

Brazil said: “Ben played well, had a good game but it was nothing that I haven’t seen on numerous occasions before having come through the academy and the performances he put in last year for the Under 18s and Under 23s. 

“Ben is competing for a first team place and it is his job to make sure that we as a group of staff want to pick him. He hasn’t done himself any harm on Tuesday and it is up to him to make sure he is in and around the team. He is one of a number of good strikers we have at the club and on Tuesday’s performance he looked a very good striker himself. 

“With any player in any position, if they play well they have a chance of playing in the next game. We have a decision to make and it is the same all over the pitch, be it a striker or a goalkeeper. People in charge of the shirt have the opportunity to keep it if we deem they are playing well.

“With all team selection it is about having a balance. With playing two out-and-out strikers we need to give them good supply but we also need to ensure we don’t leave ourselves short without the ball; it is about getting that balance. 

“We will try to be attacking and have a go at teams but I don’t want to be gung-ho that leads to the game being stretched. We want to be competitive and hard to break down but have quality going forward. Our attacking players have got to understand their responsibilities without the ball as well.”

Chris Cohen was a welcome addition to training this week as he continues to step up his recovery from injury and Brazil feels if he can get back to full fitness he will be in contention for a place in the squad. 

He said: “It has been a pleasure to have Chris back on the training ground. He has joined in with a couple of sessions with the first team and has been training with the Under 23s today as it was a harder session for them today. 

“He is a good person to have on the training ground, he gives the best he can and it is good to have him back on the grass. He will need to get up to speed with the areas and practices that we do on the training ground and if he can get a couple of 90 minute games under his belt with the Under 23s then I don’t see any reason why Chris won’t be in contention for the squad.”