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Matt Holland's Blog 25

6 February 2013

It's difficult to know where to start with Nottingham Forest at the moment, but it's fair to say they're going through a strange, difficult and really rather unsettling time.

Alex McLeish's departure after just 40 days wasn't in the grand scheme of things, a huge surprise. I like Alex. He's a good guy and a decent manager but it was an appointment I was critical of at the time, because Sean O'Driscoll was popular with the players and achieving positive results. There was just no need to change things around.

The biggest shock of the week that emanated from the City Ground was George Boyd's failed medical ahead of the close of the transfer window. I've honestly never heard of a footballer being turned down because of their eye sight, and by all accounts the Peterborough United man was devastated.

I was sat with Talksport presenter Adrian Durham on the day, and he's very close to George and a number of the Peterborough United players. He was exchanging texts with George throughout the afternoon and everything sounded positive, but we did wonder why they were keeping him there for so long. Were they trying to find a reason not to go through with it? I wonder.

As a youngster at Ipswich Town, my medical wasn't at all extensive. I went through all the basics with the doctor for half an hour and that was that; job done.

When I joined Charlton Athletic I was approaching 30, and as you might expect they gave me a more rigorous and thorough examination. It lasted three hours and involved a trip to the local hospital but even then it wasn't crazy. I did an eye test - with one of those sheets of letters that hang on a doctor's wall - but even if I'd struggled I doubt it would have scuppered the move.

The length of medicals tend to vary depending on the age of a player, their past injury record and how much the transfer fee is going to cost the buying club. All I can say regarding George Boyd is that his eye sight hasn't exactly been holding him back as a player. I think he's a terrific performer at npower Championship level.

On the transfer front it was a fairly quiet close to the window, but one signing which caught my eye was Middlesbrough's decision to recruit my old team-mate Kieron Dyer on a short-term deal.

He's a player that has suffered with terrible injuries during his career, but he's still played over 400 games as a pro, and that's no mean feat. He's also won 33 caps for England too, which proves he's somebody with a great deal of quality.

Tony Mowbray and Mark Venus know all about what Kieron's capable of, and I really hope he can make a big impact at the Riverside. When we played together at Portman Road he was a top talent.

His energy levels were unreal, he had fabulous vision, and he was technically very gifted as well.

It's a pity that injuries curtailed his progress, but it would be no surprise to me if he does well for Middlesbrough in the coming months.

Elsewhere I'd say that Ian Holloway has probably excelled himself more than anyone else in the division when it comes to January transfer dealings.

He's got Wilfried Zaha back from Manchester United on loan, as well as Stephen Dobbie, Ashley Richards, Alex Nimely, Jacob Butterfield, and potentially most importantly of all, he's been reunited with Kevin Phillips.

I don't know how many minutes KP will have out there on the pitch but he's a wonderful person to have around the dressing room, particularly in a promotion run-in because he's been there so often in the past.

The young players at Palace now have a great example in front of them. They can bounce off Kevin and watch how he goes about his daily business and I think they'll be inspired by his professionalism and enthusiasm for the game.

After an indifferent run of form the Eagles needed a lift, and I believe the arrival of a great pro like Kevin Phillips will do them the world of good in their attempts to reach the Premier League.

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