A season unexpectedly curtailed by a global pandemic, Nottingham Forest’s U23s side, ably coached by former player and legend Chris Cohen, have been crowned champions of the Professional Development League North.
In leading the division by six from Burnley, Forest only suffering two losses in twenty-one and boasted a goal difference of plus thirty-two, Cohen’s men last kicked a ball back in March (the season cancelled due to COVID-19 two months later), although they have already begun pre-season training ahead of the 2020-21 campaign.
That last fixture, a 5-0 home win over Bolton Wanderers, at the Eddie Davies Academy, saw the Reds open up the six point gap with goals coming from Brennan Johnson (2), Alex Mighten, Virgil Gomis and Will Swann – they had nine fixtures remaining at the time.
Speaking to nottinghamforest.co.uk, Academy manager Gary Brazil said of the club being awarded the title: “I’m delighted for the whole academy set-up.”
“Every member of staff involved through all the age groups has a part to play in player development and this achievement is a reflection of all their hard work, both on and off the pitch.”
In addition to the U23s being crowned champions, the U18s finished fifth in their division, both tables having been decided by the points-per-game method; it would be back on August 19, 2019, that Forest U23s opened their campaign, with a 3-1 win away to Bristol City, Brennan Johnson with a brace, Tyrese Fornah the decisive third.
Cohen, a former club captain having joined the Reds back in 2007, was twice named Player of the Season, 2009 and 2013, before retiring at the end of the 2017-18 campaign, becoming the clubs’ Academy Technical Coach.
His experience on the field has proved invaluable off it over the past couple of seasons.
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @NFFC the Under 23’s had a superb season prior to covid lockdown.