Fortress Reebok

Ahead of the Nottingham Forest game, Owen Coyle has called for his side to turn the Reebok Stadium into a fortress this season

A determined Owen Coyle has called for his charges to turn the Reebok Stadium into a fortress this season.

Since the his arrival at the club in January 2010 Wanderers have claimed numerous scalps on their own patch with resounding victories over the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United.

Those wins formed part of an impressive run of Reebok form in Coyle’s first full season at the helm, with only the two Manchester clubs, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool holding a better home record throughout the 2010/11 campaign.

And speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of Friday’s live Sky television clash against Nottingham Forest, the manager stated his belief that rediscovering the winning formula in front of the home faithful this season could hold the key to promotion.

“Home form is absolutely paramount in the Championship, there’s no doubt about that,” Coyle explained. “With 23 home games there are a lot of points up for grabs.

“Last season our home record wasn’t what it had been in the two previous seasons when I had been manager.

“We want to get back to the Reebok being a fortress again. We’ve shown that can be the case against the best sides in the country in the Premier League, so we have to make sure we’re ready to do that in the Championship.

“If we do that, then of course those valuable home points will go a long way to pushing you up towards the top end of the league which is where everyone wants to be.

“We came out at the Reebok on Tuesday night and had to be patient and that’s something that we’re going to have to learn. You can’t just click your fingers and everything falls into place. You have to earn every point in this league.”

Whilst Chris Eagles, Tyrone Mears, Darren Pratley, Marvin Sordell and Andy Lonergan are all well versed in this league there are a number for whom playing in England’s second tier is a new experience.

And the manager later added that those players who are new to this level would quickly learn the qualities needed in which to achieve success.

He continued: “It’s a demanding league. Teams have good quality combined with tremendous work ethic and desire.

“I think ultimately the players who haven’t played in this league before will realise what it’s all about. It is physical, it is demanding and teams will make it hard for us.

“We have to make sure we stand up and look to impose ourselves. They’ll be different challenges from game to game and that’s why sometimes it will require a bit of patience. It’s important we don’t become frustrated and keep doing what we are doing.”

Nottingham Forest on the other hand have near enough an entire squad, compete with manager Sean O’Driscoll, with experience at this level.

“Sean has come in and, having worked there last year, inherited a squad in which he knows well. He’s then gone out and added to his squad with six or seven signings,” Coyle later added.

“We all know Nottingham Forest are a huge club with unbelievable history. They’ll be desperate to get back to the best league in the world – same as everyone else.

“They’re going to be difficult opponents, but as always we’ll be wary of their threats whilst looking to impose ourselves on the game.”
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