Nottingham Forest have turned around their season after a dreadful start to the season under Chris Hughton’s management.
Nottingham Forest lost six of their first seven Championship games, leading to Chris Hughton’s sacking.
The decision to replace Hughton with former Swansea City boss Steve Cooper has been pivotal. Cooper has turned Forest into play-off contenders once again, with the club sitting in 8th place as the halfway point of the campaign approaches.
Here, we assess Nottingham Forest’s season so far…
Wing-backs Djed Spence and Max Lowe have starred since joining on loan from Middlesbrough and Sheffield United. The duo have been constant threats on the right and left-hand sides and it will be hoped that they can continue to do so for the rest of the season, although Lowe is set to remain on the sidelines through a groin injury until the New Year.
Central defenders Joe Worrall and Scott McKenna have earned their plaudits too, performing well in both a back four and back three.
Academy graduate Ryan Yates is a player who has split opinion under previous management, but his displays for Cooper have made him a mainstay in the middle of the park, even filling in at centre-back when called upon.
As for attackers, Lewis Grabban’s nine goals make him the top scorer, also chipping in with three assists. Philip Zinckernagel is another loaned in player whose performances have made him a popular figure among supporters, while young star Brennan Johnson’s displays on the wing have made him a hit with fans too.
Areas to improve?
Having lost only once in the Championship in the last three months, there aren’t many glaring areas that Nottingham Forest need to address immediately.
One area Cooper previously acknowledged that needed improvement was defending set-pieces, something that analytics have displayed.
📈Championship Set-Piece xG. #NFFC A tad fortunate to have only conceded 4 from set-plays so far this season. Cooper highlighted after the Birmingham game it was something we needed to improve. Just the 3 goals scored from them, as expected. pic.twitter.com/3zUwSBva01
— Chris Kearney (@AnalyticsForest) November 22, 2021
Nottingham Forest’s squad depth could be improved as well, with striker and centre-back two positions that could do with some bolster in the January transfer window.
That brings us to Forest’s ambitions for the upcoming transfer window, with the club reportedly keen on bolstering the two aforementioned areas in the New Year.
The Telegraph’s John Percy has said a new centre-forward is a priority next month and Steve Cooper looks to make his mark on the squad at the City Ground. Aston Villa forward Keinan Davis and Arsenal prodigy Folarin Balogun have been mentioned as two possible loan targets, with a move for Norwich City youngster Adam Idah also said to have been discussed.
As for centre-backs, reporter Will Unwin has said that Forest are also prioritising a permanent addition in that department, so it will be interesting to see who, if anyone, comes through the door at the City Ground.
Speculation has been rife about Djed Spence’s future too, so it will be hoped that the right-sided star can see out his loan spell with Nottingham Forest rather than make an early return to Championship rivals Middlesbrough.