Sean O’Driscoll has adopted a different approach to the latest international break after his Nottingham Forest side’s form dipped last time out.The Reds return to Championship action tomorrow against high-flying Cardiff at The City Ground (kick-off 3pm).
They went into the break on a high after beating Peterborough 1-0 in their last outing but boss O’Driscoll has taken steps to ensure his players do not suffer a post-break hangover, as they did in September.
O’Driscoll said: “We started the last break on the back of a really good performance and a win. The break hindered us, training was a bit broken-up.
“We’ve tried to make sure that that hasn’t happened again by keeping a nucleus of players and focussing on this game from a long way away. We’ve tried to increase the intensity, rather than allowing ourselves to get into a lull.”
Simon Cox, Adlene Guedioura and Dexter Blackstock reported back from international duty fit and well – although Blackstock must sit out the visit of Cardiff as he completes his three-match suspension. But doubts surround Henri Lansbury, Jermaine Jenas and Sam Hutchinson.
O’Driscoll explained: “We pulled Henri out of the Peterborough game because, after starting against Blackburn, his physical stats went downhill after the break.
“Stuart Pearce was desperate to use him for the Under 21s’ two games, so we thought that if he played in those it would be beneficial for us in the long run. Unfortunately, he injured his hamstring training for England and has only just managed to get back to training on grass.
“Jermaine hurt his back last Tuesday and is in a similar position to Henri.
“Sam Hutchinson is still well short of featuring – he had an injection in his knee which we hoped would help clear the problem, but it looks as if it may have exacerbated it."
Tickets for the Cardiff game are available via the usual outlets – in-person at The City Ground Ticket Office; on-line at www.nottinghamforest.co.uk or by calling 0871 226 1980 (calls are charged at 10p per minute, mobile rates may vary).