Depleted Forest get going after Kinnear gets tough

Stoke City 0 Nottingham Forest 0
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The Independent Online

Forest manager Joe Kinnear's pleasure at seeing his side restrict the erstwhile Championship leaders to a point would have been enjoyed all the more had he not been required to defend himself over an extraordinary stand-off with his transfer-listed Irish international, Andy Reid.

Forest manager Joe Kinnear's pleasure at seeing his side restrict the erstwhile Championship leaders to a point would have been enjoyed all the more had he not been required to defend himself over an extraordinary stand-off with his transfer-listed Irish international, Andy Reid.

Kinnear left Reid out of the side yesterday, despite his resources already being crippled by injuries, claiming the winger, a transfer target for Tottenham, had made it plain he did not want to play for Forest. "Things came to a head after our game at Sunderland on Tuesday when Andy made it clear he doesn't want to play for this club," Kinnear said, stressing that the 22-year-old could be out of the team indefinitely unless he changes his position.

"No one individual is bigger than the club and there comes a point when you have to say enough is enough. This has been going on for months and it is not fair to the other players.

"If he says he will commit himself to Forest until such time as someone comes in for him, then the door remains open. The ball is in his court, and while we will miss him if he is not playing, there will be only one loser in this situation and that's Andy Reid."

Reid's discontent has intensified since Tottenham, who had an offer of £5 million turned down by Forest in January, returned with an offer of just £2m in the summer. The player accused Forest of pricing him out of a move but chairman Nigel Doughty insists Tottenham match their original offer if they want to land the player.

Stoke's failure to break down Forest's scratch back four, which contained an 18-year-old and two 20-year-olds, meant Wigan reclaimed top place in the Championship. Forest were without Michael Dawson, Matthieu Louis-Jean, John Thompson and Jon-Olav Hjelde but Stoke could not find a way through, despite chances falling to Ade Akinbiyi, Clive Clarke and Darel Russell.

Forest, who suffered a further blow when Kris Commons, their former Stoke midfielder, limped off with a torn calf muscle early in the second half, threatened rarely before half-time but could have stolen victory close to the end.

The home crowd were mightily relieved to see a linesman's flag raised when Gerry Taggart sliced a Gareth Taylor effort into his own net after Steve Simonsen had saved well from David Johnson. Simonsen, making his full debut in place of the injured Ed de Goey, again earned his match bonus by denying Alan Rogers, although a win for Forest might have been a little more than they deserved.

Beaten 2-0 at Sunderland, a performance which also cost Marlon King his place, Forest are still without a win in what has been their poorest start to a season since 1928.

Tony Pulis, the Stoke manager, was able to swallow his disappointment at losing top spot. "The players have done fantastically well and it is a sign of how we have progressed that Forest came here to play for a point," he said.

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