With Forest making such a good start to their 2019/20 Sky Bet Championship campaign and proving a formidable unit under Sabri Lamouchi, fans will start to dream of a Premier League return, and rightly so.
The Reds have been away from the top flight of English football for 20 years now and supporters will be longing for the two-time former European Cup winners to make a long-awaited return this time around – and it has to be said, they stand every chance.
The Championship is a tough league, as competitive as they come, but this season, in particular, looks a very level playing field compared to others – and Lamouchi’s men have already stolen a march on some of their competitors.
Since their Premier League relegation in 1999, Forest have found things tough, even spending three seasons in the third tier between 2005 and 2008. Aside from that, the club have been in or around the Championship play-offs on the odd occasion, but have largely suffered midtable mediocrity as the club lacked direction.
That appears to have changed now though. The club feels invigorated, with a togetherness that has, perhaps, been missing for some time. They’ll fancy their chances this year, there’s certainly nothing for them to fear.
In years gone by, the second tier has had some big spenders, standout teams and those on the back of perpetual forward impetus, making it difficult for some to restructure and compete. The likes of Aston Villa and Newcastle have huge fanbases and expectations. Brighton and Bournemouth have used momentum and good structural planning to pass through the Championship, while Wolverhampton Wanderers spent big (and very well) to bring in some top players to aid their ascent to the top echelon.
While Forest are a huge club, competing with those listed above has been difficult, for varying reasons. Not anymore though. The division as a whole looks very open. There’s nobody hugely standing out. Leeds look decent but beatable, West Brom look very useful indeed and will likely be around the top end come May. Aside from that, Preston and Swansea are going well, as are Sheffield Wednesday, Charlton and QPR while Fulham, like Albion, are likely to be there or thereabouts at the season’s end.
Stoke City and Middlesbrough are struggling, while Derby County are having a very mixed season, both on and off the pitch.
Lamouchi and Forest will look at it and see a handful of good team’s alongside a multitude of competent ones. As said previously, there’s nothing to fear. If the Reds can focus on themselves, continue to churn out results and pick up points, they may well find themselves amongst English football’s elite once more.