Last season’s performance, while better than in 2016/17, still left Nottingham Forest in the lower middle of the table. For a club that won the European Cup twice and has previously spent many seasons in the top flight, the weighty expectations of history overshadow everything. If it wants to replicate those successes, then it needs to improve both the talent it has available and the way it uses it.
Forest has a number of players currently on loan from other clubs and there are some that it should look to sign permanently. Goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon’s transition from being on loan from Watford to permanent Forest player is a smart move – though he didn’t play much last season, his performances have generally been solid.
Forest did have a reliable right back in Eric Lichaj but the decision to let him move to Hull means that the club is now in need of some solid defending talent. The club had originally planned to get Alan Hutton from Aston Villa but then he decided to sign a new contract with Villa, leaving Forest in the lurch.
This has been a repeated problem for Nottingham Forest for the past few seasons. They need to get a reliable left back to plug up the holes in their defence. Manager Karanka is eyeing up Middlesbrough defender Fabio, who he managed before at Middlesbrough, to patch up the hole. He has performed well in the position and would be a great choice.
This is an area that is probably least in need of improvement. Forest are effective in getting the ball into the last third, but they have repeatedly failed to convert that into goals and points. Ben Watson, Adlene Gueioura and Ben Osborn are all available to slot into the midfield, so Forest should concentrate on keeping and developing them. It couldn’t hurt to look out for other creative midfielders that can help Forest keep producing the chances they will need next season.
In recent seasons, before Evangelos Marinakis bought the club, Forest’s firepower has been seriously lacking, with the team being unable to capitalise on several chances they have made. Karanka has already begun his attempt to bring more attacking power into the team by expressing interest in Lewis Grabban, who has proved himself an effective goalscorer during spells with Sunderland and Aston Villa. Forest needs to get a striker with real championship experience and the cool head and predatory nature needed to net balls.
Forest is a team with big ambitions and a dazzling history. They have become a Championship mainstay but will always be looking to break into the top flight again. The management needs to be smart about signings to ensure that the positions they need to fill are occupied by talented players that will work well together under the tactics of Karanka.