Nottingham Forest Manager Chris Hughton said earlier this week it would be ‘very difficult’ for him to play the same team with the volume of games the club has coming up right now and following successive 2-0 defeats against Barnsley and Bournemouth, calls from some fans are already suggesting that ‘changes’ should be made this weekend.
On Tuesday night, Forest would have started with Gaeten Bong at left back had it not been for an injury during warm-up which allowed Yuri Ribeiro to continue in occupation of the slot but with some supporters more concerned about performances of right back Cyrus Christie and centre half Tobias Figueiredo in the Reds defence, Hughton may instead look to change two players this Sunday at the City Ground that he’s used in all nine of his matches in charge so far.
Scott McKenna at least is an unquestionable mainstay after some terrific performances since signing from Aberdeen but questions hang on whether Hughton has got the best yet out of his midfield duo with many Forest followers critical of Jack Colback and Ryan Yates in particular of late.
Hughton still needs to find the right blend in attack too with Lyle Taylor short of cover due to the injury of Lewis Grabban, the three in behind at the moment are anyone’s guess from Freeman, Ameobi, Lolley, Guerrero and Knockaert, although Harry Arter featured in a more flat 4-3-3 alongside Yates & Colback against Bournemouth mid-week, a match where Forest were largely outclassed by their hosts.
Whether it be changing the system or personnel, one thing fans would like to see is an injection of youth, with Loic Mbe-Soh a lot of ‘people’s choice’ to come in at centre half to sure up what has been a leaky back four.
In midfield, Reds fans want change, many say give Cafu a chance, some saying is it time to bring back Brennan Johnson from his loan at Lincoln? In attack, there is optimism at least as young Will Swan made the bench on Tuesday, others may follow from Andy Reid’s U23’s should those in the driving seat continue to not perform.
And Hughton’s sides performances so far have pretty much underwhelmed, whilst results have been fair before turning for the worse of late, the club don’t look to have improved on last years promise, a worrying sign is that wonders are the problems lie deeper than within the clubs first team squad and staff. Giving youth a chance may give Hughton time to get it right whilst the club do their bit to get themselves in shape.
That time however will be thin if results don’t turn around quick. No one is saying that Hughton is under pressure but no-one yet, is saying his job is safe either.
Forest face Swansea City on Sunday, the Welshmen are fourth in the division and are going well under Steven Cooper. A team with ‘identity’ built on solid foundations, they have the second best defence in the division and in Andre Ayew they have the ability to cause problems on the break, perfectly set up to go away to some place like the City Ground and take points at a team that will likely come at them in need of a morale boosting home win.
Forest need to find their rhythm, like Swansea, their style, their philosophy, they need to find something they are good at, stick to it and build from there, because bad football and poor results, which pretty much has epitomised 2020 for the club, is not a mix or blend for success.
A win on Sunday, will at least start to rebuild that trust between fans and players, managers and directors, hierarchy and lowrarchy, whilst a defeat will only continue to damage it further.
Chris Hugton’s conundrum, is simply how best to get a result?
*Main image @NFFC Chris Hughton could do with a win against Swansea to ease relegation worries.