A familiar mood has Elliott Ward believing Nottingham Forest can still challenge for promotion this season
THE return of a familiar feeling has convinced Elliott Ward that Nottingham Forest could still earn a place in the Premier League this season.
The defender was part of the West Ham side that won promotion to the Premier League via the play-offs in 2005.
The Hammers looked to be out of the running before finishing the season in storming fashion, losing only once in their final ten games, to snatch sixth spot, before triumphing at Wembley.
Forest head into a testing clash at second-placed Hull City tomorrow on the back of five-straight wins.
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And defender Ward, who also won promotion to the top flight with Norwich City in 2010/11, says he can feel similar momentum building under Billy Davies.
"It feels very similar to the West Ham promotion, when we went on a late run and got into the play-offs on the final day, finishing sixth," said Ward, who has established himself as an integral figure in the heart of defence, since rejoining on loan from the Canaries.
"This feels similar in terms of momentum, in terms of keeping clean sheets and winning games.
"At West Ham, we were unbeaten for eight to ten games during the run in and it took us to where we wanted to be.
"We have to take it game by game and see what happens. We are taking nothing for granted, because things can change quickly."
Ward says Forest are merely benefiting from producing their best form consistently for the first time this season.
"The quality of the squad has always been here, it is sometimes just a case of getting the best out of players," he said.
"At the minute, people are producing their best. It is something that Billy seems to have a knack of inspiring. He has come in and made it feel bright for the lads. We just go out and play with a smile on our faces, that has been part of things in recent weeks as well."
Manager Davies must again decide whether to keep skipper Danny Collins alongside Ward in the heart of the back four or restore Greg Halford to the side, after he returned to the squad as a substitute in last weekend's 3-1 win over Wolves. But Halford is just enjoying being part of a squad on such a positive run.
"That is the most rewarding thing. We are six games unbeaten, we have won five of those and we can't really ask for much more at the minute," said Halford.
"It does give you confidence. We do not fear anyone. We were snatching at chances during our previous spell, when we struggled for results. But now it looks as though every chance we get, we will score from.
"That is what confidence does for you. It is a massive part of the game and we are full of it at the minute."