Chris Hughton takes charge of his Nottingham Forest side for the first time since his appointment as the Reds travel north to Ewood Park, to take on Blackburn Rovers.
The 2020/21 campaign has started in the worst ways imaginable for Forest. 5 defeats from 5 and only one goal scored – a series of results that contributed to former boss, Sabri Lamouchi, being shown the exit door. But it was also much to do with what unfolded after the ‘Restart’ last season which ultimately sealed Lamouchi’s fate.
Forest only won two games after the enforced Coronavirus break, missing out on a playoff spot that had been theirs for the taking.
The Reds added some quality additions to the squad over the summer, with one clear strategy with most of the arrivals having plenty of Championship experience.
And now Forest seem to have matched the transfer strategy with their managerial appointment. Out of all the available managers, Chris Hughton, and the vast wealth of knowledge that comes with him, could well (fingers crossed) be a master stroke decision by the Forest hierarchy.
In his four previous full seasons in the EFL Championship Hughton has guided Newcastle to the league title, Birmingham to a fourth placed finish and led Brighton to third and then second. Albeit he hasn’t quite got a full season this time around (42 games left) many who know how we works still think there are enough games for him to change Forest’s fortunes.
Ex Forest midfielder Jermaine Jenas was coached by Hughton during their time at Tottenham and tweeted this following the 61 year olds appointment “Forest fans! I want you all to get behind Chris Hughton and support him and give him time, I’ve worked with him and he’s a top man and a fantastic manager with a proven record that I believe will bring the club the success it deserves as long as he is given what he needs.”
As he prepares for his first game in charge, Hughton will be unable to call upon the services of defenders Joe Worrall and Tyler Blackett. Worrall’s foot injury is expected to keep him out for at least 2 months. Fouad Bachirou also continues to be an injury absentee. Scott McKenna, who missed the last match and all of Scotland’s recent internationals is back in first team training and in contention for the game.
As for Blackburn Rovers, in recent years they’ve had the on pitch stability many Forest fans are crying out for. Their boss, Tony Mowbray, has been at the helm since 2017 and is now into his fourth season – astonishing four years is now considered a long time in the Championship.
Sitting sixth in the table Rovers have started the season brightly. Two giant wins against Wycombe (5-0) and Derby County (4-0) have ensured Rovers occupy a high position in the table and will look to further boost their standing when Forest visit on Saturday.
In past years the spoils are often shared when Blackburn host the Reds. Last year a one all draw was the outcome, with it again being a draw the year before.
Two teams with two contrasting starts to the season meet on Saturday, will Blackburn add another team to their list of thrashings so far this season? Or will the Chris Hughton era at Nottingham Forest, get off to the perfect start?
*Article provided by Joe Freeman (Nottingham Forest Correspondent).
*Main image @NFFC Chris Hughton is relishing the challenge as the new Nottingham Forest Manager.