Welcome to yet another Npower Championship preview of Leicester City’s opponents 2011/2012; in this particular feature I turn my attentions to East Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest. With a fresh face at the helm in Steve McClaren, will the former England manager be able to guide the Tricky Trees to promotion, something that Billy Davies almost mustered on a number of occasions…
Nottingham Forest Preview
Leicester City’s neighbours Nottingham Forest will be under new management this season, former manager Billy Davies achieved two promotion finishes while at the City Ground; however after failing in consecutive play-off Semi Finals a change at Nottingham Forest was something that had to be applied. Experienced manager Steve McClaren now takes over the reins of what he has described as a “Very good club”, certainly Nottingham Forest have resound history when it comes to winning trophies but those successes were centurties ago. McClaren’s main aim will be securing a position in the play-offs for a third season in a row; however an automatic promotion challenge will be an even better possibility for Nottingham Forest. There has been transformation amongst the squad most notably in midfield; McClaren has made some extremely correct signings as he has added experience and tenacity to the centre of midfield, with the arrivals of Andy Reid, Jonathan Greening and George Boateng. Meanwhile even with the departure of Robert Earnshaw, Nottingham Forest still have competition for places up front with American international Robbie Findlay, and former Sheffield Wednesday striker Marcus Tudgay set to start their first full season’s as Forest players, Findlay especially has a point to prove in 2011/2012, as his first months at the club were marred by injury. The play-offs seem very possible, and I also expect Nottingham Forest to be sniffing around the automatic promotion spots for a considerable amount of time this season.
Nottingham Forest currently have one of the most established defences in the league, the back four are a very solid unit who posses a wide range of expanded qualities. Chris Gunter is a consistent performer as the highly regarded right-back, is a solid defender aswell as a keen attacker. While in the centre of defence the dependable pair of Wes Morgan and Luke Chambers, are underlined to be one of the most consistent partnerships in the Npower Championship. The bulky frame of Wes Morgan is always difficult to tackle, while Luke Chambers is a brave competitor who isn’t afraid of putting in a challenge. Meanwhile midfielder Lewis McGugan played an influential role in Nottingham Forest’s 09/10 season, McGugan found himself amongst the goals with some trademark strikes, most notably against Ipswich when his 35 yard free kick nestled in the top corner. McGugan will certainly be classed as one of Nottingham Forest’s key players, as last season proved that he is capable of producing some outstanding displays. Finally with the departure of Robert Earnshaw, last January’s winter signing in Marcus Tudgay will now have to step up to the plate, since Tudgay joined the Tricky Trees from Sheffield Wednesday he has been a revelation as then manager Billy Davies secured one of the best buys of the January transfer window, the 28 year old proved dangerous to opposition defences, as he was quick and skilful around the field. Nottingham Forest have proven themselves to be a real force in the Npower Championship, with key players all over the pitch expect Steve McClaren’s side to push for another promotion challenge in 11/12.
Manager – Steve McClaren
After much unrest between manager and backroom staff, the ever consistent Billy Davies was relieved of his duties from the City Ground after a two year reign. With the club believing that two missed opportunities at promotion was clearly significant, Steve McClaren has now been handed the duties of managing the club to the next level. Since his nightmare as England coach the 50 year old claimed silverware with Dutch side FC Twente, as he guided them to the Eredivisie title in season 09/10. McClaren has a mixed bag of managerial success on his C.V; however with him willing to drop down a level to manage in the Npower Championship the move could well pay off. With experience and a desire to get Forest promoted back to the promise land, another good season looks on the cards with McClaren now in the hotseat.
Ins and Outs
Ins – Andy Reid(Blackpool), Jonathan Greening(Fulham), George Boateng(Skoda Xanthi)
Outs – Kelvin Wilson(Celtic), Nathan Tyson(Derby), Dele Adebola(Hull), Julian Bennett(Sheffield Wed), Robert Earnshaw(Cardiff), Paul McKenna(Hull)
Nottingham Forest have a squad that should yet again compete for a place in the play-offs, with McClaren now in charge and with the signings he has made this summer, Forest fans should feel positive about the appoint of their manager and about their three new signings. Even though Robert Earnshaw’s departure could affect Nottingham Forest for a short while, they are sure to overlook his exit and move onto bigger and better things without him. The Championship play-offs are a guaranteed encounter, but performing just that little bit better and trying to get into the automatic promotion places will just be that little more demanding. Prediction – 5th