Nottingham Forest are preparing to face Arsenal despite sacking their manager Mark Warburton after an abysmal run of 8 winless matches in the Championship. Perhaps they could benefit from the famous new-manager-syndrome and their caretaker manager Gary Brazil can’t wait to test himself against Arsenal on Sunday after helping the club to a point at Leeds in his first match.
He said in the official Forest website: “It is mouth-watering for the fans and we need to make sure we put in a good performance for them. We want them to come to The City Ground and go away proud of what we have done.
“If you are not looking forward to it, and it doesn’t give you butterflies in the stomach, then you are in the wrong business.
“I don’t think there is ever a bad time to play Arsenal in the FA Cup! We are at home, there will be a big crowd and from a player’s perspective, I would be wanting the shirt.”
“You have got to make sure you have a game plan for yourselves but also acknowledge the opposition, exactly as we did for Leeds.
“You are aware of their strengths and weaknesses and areas that you can hurt them, but also areas where you can get hurt and you make sure you negate one and take advantage of the other.”
The Forest goalkeeper Jordan Smith is also relishing the chance to do some famous giant-killing against the Gunners this weekend. He said: “It is a game that you can’t not look forward to. It is a welcome distraction from the league with it not going how we would want it to, and the FA Cup is something that you really look forward to.
“Growing up, it was all about the magic of the cup and it is almost a free hit for us on Sunday. It is the draw you want; you either want someone who you can go out and beat or you draw one of the big hitters and they don’t come much bigger than Arsenal.
“The preparations have been similar in terms of what we have done in training, but you do get that sense that there is a bit more of a buzz with the big game against Arsenal.
“We know though that if you get through that, what can be on the other side of it. You dare to dream and wonder what if and that is why you look forward to it so much.”
Arsene Wenger has made it clear that he will be playing a weakened side with a bit of rotation, but Smith is aware that Forest still have a tough task. “Whatever side they put out, they will have quality,” he added. “Whether it is a full-strength side or they bring some of the youngsters as they did last season, they have the quality all the way through and that is apparent.
“If they do choose to bring a weaker squad, so to speak, then we definitely can’t take them lightly as there will still be plenty of quality on the field against us.”
We all love the magic of the early rounds of the FA Cup and we can expect to see some giant-killing, but let’s hope that Arsenal are not the biggest scalp from this weekend’s games!