The Championship play-off final was certainly a dramatic affair. It had everything, down to a nail-biting penalty shoot-out finish. It ended with Nottingham Forest being promoted to the top flight for the first time in 23 years, but how will they cope in the big leagues again? I’ve pinpointed a few key things to consider when looking at Nottingham Forest in FPL.
NOTTINGHAM FOREST IN FPL: THE BREAKDOWN
NEW GK NEEDED
One of the first things most promoted teams will want to do is hold on to their top players for the PL. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen here — Samba made his wishes to go back to Ligue 1 and Lens known early in the transfer window. He will be an exceptionally hard player to replace due to his spectacular performances, most notably in the play-off final. Horvath hasn’t been guaranteed a first team spot even in the Championship so a new first choice is needed. Dean Henderson (GK, 4.5 Mil) will step up to the bar, having joined on loan from Manchester United, but this may not be the coup it appears to be. He has suffered for 1st team football since his exploits with Sheffield United. He has been an understudy to David De Gea for much of the last 2 seasons, barely getting on the pitch. If this deal goes through, he’ll need to shake that rust off very quickly.
LOSS OF PLAYERS
James Garner was a creative force, with 4 goals and 10 assists across 49 appearances last season. He’s now back at Manchester United after his loan ended — it remains to be seen if there is a chance of getting him back. Djed Spence had a fantastic season on loan from Middlesbrough with 46 appearances across all competitions with 3 goals and 5 assists, along with contributing to 17 clean sheets, but is a top target for Conte’s Spurs. Three other loanees have since returned to their parent clubs.
More recruitment is undoubtedly needed to plug those gaps and replace the goal contributions that Forest have lost (52) – can they replicate their loan stars’ impact?
Other possible outgoings?
Samba’s departure seems inevitable at this stage, but will other players be poached as well? Brennan Johnson (FW, £6.0m) has been looked at by other teams but has signed a new four-year deal, but both Joe Worral (DEF, £4.5m) and Lolley (MID, £5.0m) have attracted attention in the past from other clubs. Other players may be returned to the Championship, deemed not good enough or not ready for the big leagues. This leads to a further pressing need to recruit quickly and correctly.
The only squad members (so far) with PL experience are Jack Colback (MID, £4.5m) and Steve Cook (DEF, £4.5m). Experience is no guarantee of success, but it never goes wrong in a team expected to battle relegation most of the season. Careful moves in the market needed to get some solid players in as their rivals have done (Fredericks- Bournemouth, £4.5m)
NEW NOTTINGHAM FOREST SIGNINGS
New signings are expected, with the ownership group reportedly marking £100m down to strengthen the squad (in FPL, that will get you a decent team…).
Simply spending is not enough, though. The correct moves need to be made to avoid a massive outlay with no improvement, a la Fulham’s huge spending in previous seasons. So far, Dean Henderson confirmed on a loan with no options to buy, Taiwo Awonyini (FW, £6.0m) signed from U. Berlin on a record fee, and Djed Spence replacement Giulian Biancone (DEF, £4.5m) for a reasonable fee from Troyes.
One asset Forest has kept hold of is manager Steve Cooper. His performance has been astounding — taking Forest from the bottom of the Championship to play-off winners in such a short time. He has proven himself as a very modern manager with a great record in adapting teams and innovating them- such as with Swansea and with the England youth setup. He seems to give off the same sort of approach as Graham Potter, but he seems to have moulded this Forest team far faster than Potter has done with Brighton. Structure and mentality are his hallmarks of coaching, and Forest will need both to stay in the PL.
All in all, I think Forest will have a big challenge on their hands staying up this season, but it’s not impossible. I think the other 2 promoted teams will struggle, Southampton and Everton seem to be set to remain largely the same teams that struggled last season (losing even more players in the case of Everton,) andBrentford may well be in for a case of second season syndrome.
We cover two Nottingham Forest strikers in the article about the best budget forwards in FPL.
Andy Coates is an avid Newcastle United fan, even before they became the richest club in the world, and has regularly written opinion pieces on the club for several seasons now. To keep up with their recent articles and updates, or to view retweets of left-wing politics follow their Twitter.