Football: Platt looks for passionate play

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The Independent Online
DAVID PLATT is calling on his Nottingham Forest team to show more aggression and commitment in a quest to make their mark in the First Division - starting against Walsall at home today.

Platt said: "All the great teams possess great battling qualities, and that's something we've really got to bring to our game. Five points from five games is disappointing.

"We've gone four games without a win, and that's far too long. It's vital that we beat Walsall, and I don't care if we play them off the park or out-battle them."

Platt has doubts over the fitness of Nigel Quashie, Carlton Palmer and Mathieu Louis-Jean. Quashie and Palmer both missed last Monday's 1-0 defeat by Manchester City, while Louis-Jean picked up a knock in the Maine Road match.

Quashie is the biggest doubt and is rated only 50-50 at best, but Platt remains optimistic that Palmer and defender Louis-Jean will be available.

The Walsall manager, Ray Graydon, said: "We go to Forest with a difficult task facing us.

"They've got international players in the French and Italian lads. Added to that they've now taken Ian Wright on loan. He's got great experience and is a good player - and there's also the possibility that Platt might include himself. It will be a difficult task for us.

"We've only lost one in seven. But it could have been better. We shouldn't go there fearing anything, but we know that they're going to be a very good team.

If Walsall are to start winning more games this season, rather than drawing, Graydon knows that they need to defend well and "need to take more of the chances we are creating."

The Sheffield United goalkeeper Simon Tracey will miss the home game with Crystal Palace as he is serving a one-match suspension.

Tracey was dismissed during the 6-0 mauling by Manchester City at Maine Road, so Aidan Davison steps in to make his full debut for the Blades.

Shaun Derry was carried off with facial injuries in the 3-1 Bank Holiday Monday victory over Tranmere, but is expected to recover in time to line up against the Eagles.

Palace have no new injury problems as they look to recover from last Saturday's 7-1 thrashing at Huddersfield. The assistant manager, Steve Kember, said: "Obviously after last week's result it's important to bounce back."

Palace's financial troubles have been well documented, but Kember claims all the management and players can do is concentrate on performing on the pitch.

He said: "It's just a question of getting on with what you've got. That's been the way of life for four or five years now with the sides that have money and the sides that don't."