New Campbell - new danger
Coventry City 0 Nottingham Forest
Monday 19 August 1996
Dean Saunders and Nikola Jerkan were the unfamiliar names on the teamsheet but you would have sworn there was another new player in Forest colours on Saturday. Certainly, the fellow wearing "Campbell" across his shoulders seemed to bear little resemblance to the one who had gone under that name previously. Compared with last season's lumbering heavyweight this was a lean greyhound, quick to reach the ball, quick to pass or shoot. What's more, unlike the old version, this Campbell scored goals: three of them.
Between the 1th minute and the 47th, the former Arsenal striker equalled his Premiership goals tally for the whole of last season. He brought Forest a decisive victory, that reflected their performance, and much pleasure to a manager keen to silence his critics.
It was Campbell's miserable failure last season that raised questions about Frank Clark's judgement, watering the seeds of doubt sown by the failure of the Italian Andrea Silenzi, his pounds 1.8m impulse buy. Between them, these two cost pounds 4.m - half the fee for Stan Collymore - but, even combined, they did not look half the player.
To see Campbell score a hat-trick must have been a relief. "Kevin was a disappointment last season, even taking injuries into account," Clark said. "But he is a strong character and I always believed he would come good. My faith in him did not waver.
"He has worked hard in pre-season and is much fitter. He had great pace as a 17-year-old at Orient, where I first saw him, and I feel he is at last getting it back."
No less encouraging is the impact made by Saunders, newly arrived from Galatasaray. At 2, the Welsh international, bought for pounds 1.6m, might be another high-risk investment but he demonstrated a sure touch, a quick brain and well-tuned instincts, striking up with Campbell a partnership that was instantly effective in a system that did not suffer through the absence of the injured Bryan Roy.
It was instinct, the ability to anticipate his partner's intentions, that enabled Saunders to set up Campbell's first two goals, putting Coventry out of the match before half-time. Campbell made the third himself, creating space with a jink and a shuffle. In each case his finishing was first rate.
Nikola Jerkan, the pounds 1m Croat, brought authority to Forest's defence, a quality absent from Coventry's rearguard on a day when Noel Whelan picked up a foot injury and Gary McAllister a warning of difficult days ahead.
Goals: Campbell (1) 0-1; Campbell (7) 0-2; Campbell (47) 0-.
Coventry City (4-4-2): Ogrizovic; Borrows, Williams, Daish, Burrows; Salako, McAllister, Richardson, O'Neill (Jess, 50); Whelan (Ducros, 50), Dublin. Substitutes not used: Filan (gk), Shaw, Telfer.
Nottingham Forest (4-4-2): Crossley; Cooper, Jerkan, Chettle, Pearce; Stone (Gemmill, 75), Haland, Bart-Williams, Woan; Campbell, Saunders (McGregor, 85). Substitutes not used: Fettis (gk), Allen, Lyttle.
Referee: A Wilkie (Chester-le-Street).
Man of the match: Campbell. Attendance: 19,468.
Latest in Sport
Arsenal vs Tottenham player ratings: Mesut Ozil? Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain? Nacer Chadli? Who was the star man at the Emirates?
Colombian women's cycling team kit that makes wearer appear naked is branded 'unacceptable' by UCI president
Husain Abdullah penalised after celebrating a touchdown with a Muslim prayer - causing mass outrage among fans
Manchester United risk Uefa row over plan to play lucrative midweek friendlies
Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United: 'Come home' banner flown over Real Madrid match
- 1 Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
- 2 Expert urges cat lovers to own just one animal each
- 4 Yes, the iPhone 6 is a miracle, but it's Apple's tax affairs that deserve a double take
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE NQ to MID LEVEL - An e...
Highly Attractive Pakage: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - A highly attractive oppor...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...
£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...