HomeFootball NewsForest aim higher in second season back in Premier League

Forest aim higher in second season back in Premier League

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After remarkably bringing in 30 new players last year Nottingham Forest were able to survive in their first season back in the Premier League since 1998-99. The trust instilled in manager Steve Cooper saw the club able to pull themselves away from the relegation zone in the closing weeks of the last campaign.

Forest ended up finishing 16th with 38 points last time out, but for the new season can they build on that and improve their standing?

Last summer saw a massive turnover in players for Forest, but this time around it has been a different story so far. In terms of outgoings, the main names on the list are striker Jesse Lingard, who departs after only one year in Nottingham and Andre Ayew who leaves after his short-term contract ended.

With the league season less than a month away no new major signings have been brought to the City Ground. The only deal so far was confirmation of loanee Chris Wood from Newcastle becoming a permanent Forest player.

Rumours were pointing Fulham winger Willian in the direction of Forest. The Brazilian returned to the Premier League in 2022-23, with the 34-year-old scoring and assisting five times last season in the top flight. However, with the former Chelsea man preferring to stay in London, a potential move to Nottinghamshire fell through, and Forest fans still wait for new players.

Signings are still clearly needed for Cooper. With Keylor Navas and Dean Henderson both returning to their parent clubs, the Forest manager currently lacks a Premier League standard goalkeeper.

Elsewhere on the pitch, despite Forest trying to make a permanent deal for wing-back Renan Lodi – who was on loan from Atletico Madrid last season – he has joined Marseille in France on a five-year contract.

The squad is still big enough to cover most positions, but higher-quality players are needed before the window shuts if Forest are to build on their work from last season.

If the correct players can be introduced to the squad, Cooper will be aiming for mid-table territory. The last time Forest finished comfortably in a mid-table position in the Premier League was more than a quarter of a century ago, when they were ninth in the 1995-96 season.

Realistically, it would be an achievement if the club simply retains its Premier League status for another year. Teams can often fade in their second season back in the Premier League.

Sheffield United finished in an impressive ninth place on their return to the big time under Chris Wilder in 2019-20. Unfortunately, the season after the side slumped to rock bottom in the table and dropped back into the Championship.

For Forest and Cooper, they do not have an easy start to the season. In their opening six matches, they take on four huge clubs in Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City. In between those games, they take on two of the newly promoted sides in Sheffield and Burnley who will both be looking to prove points on their return.

Overall, for Forest this upcoming campaign, they will want a season of consolidation. If they are unable to make at least a few good signings before the transfer window ends, it could be another long season for the club.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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