Settled back four can be key to success says Nottingham Forest skipper Collins
REESTABLISHING a settled back four could be vital to restoring Nottingham Forest's fortunes, according to skipper Danny Collins.
A string of injury and suspension problems have forced the Reds into making changes to their back four personnel in each of their last four games – a spell that has seen them concede seven goals.
In contrast, during their previous five-match unbeaten run, they made only one change to the back four.
And, as they look to bounce back to winning ways against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, following a defeat to Millwall and draws against Middlesbrough and Leicester City, the central defender says getting a settled defensive line-up could be a key factor.
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"If you ask any team, a settled back four is what you build your base on," said Collins.
"Your midfield and flair players can come in and out of the team without causing too much disruption.
"But you need a solid base at the back. It gives you an important foundation.
"If we can get everyone fit and competing for those four shirts, we will be much better off.
"It would be good for us to have the seven defenders to pick from, because then there is competition and that keeps you on your toes.
"We had back-to-back clean sheets when we had a settled back four, against Blackburn and Peterborough."
Collins says the recent disruption to the back four, which has seen Dan Harding and Daniel Ayala suffer hamstring injuries and Greg Halford suspended, has been a factor.
"When you are out there, you try to focus on your own job and hope the boys around you do their jobs," he said.
"But Greg has had to move to left back and he is not a left back, he perhaps finds that a little awkward out there.
"It doesn't help with a lot of the injuries we have had, which have forced us to make changes.
"Dan Harding has had a hamstring problem recently, Sam Hutchinson has been out for a while and, with a bit of luck, Daniel Ayala can come back this weekend from his injury."
Hutchinson is likely to be out until Christmas at least with his knee problem. And Collins added: "Sam did well in the games he played in, he had settled in well. It was unlucky for him.
"He is still around the training ground, but he wants to get back out there training and playing."