5 Positions Nottingham Forest Need to Strengthen to Become Serious Promotion Candidates

After a turbulent 2016/2017 campaign that saw Nottingham Forest avoid relegation on the final day of the season, things are looking up for the Reds. 

Mark Warburton’s side sit ninth in the Championship table and only five points off the playoffs.

However, inconsistency has been a problem, with Forest winning nine and losing ten of their 19 games this season. If they are to become serious promotion candidates, they will need to strengthen in certain areas of the field in January. 

Here are five positions that Forest may look to improve on to close the gap between themselves and this year’s front-runners in the Championship.   

1. Goalkeeper

Goalkeeper Jordan Smith has been outstanding since his rise through the academy and into Forest’s first-team. The 22-year old’s position has rarely been questioned, with Smith receiving little challenge for the number-one spot. 

Adam Federici was brought in from Bournemouth to challenge the Forest keeper, but saw his move terminated before making a single appearance due to injury. 

The club targeted Danish international Frederik Ronnow in the summer, and may look to rekindle their interest in January to ensure competition for Smith.  

2. Striker

Forest were rocked in the summer as star striker Britt Assombalonga left the club to join Middlesbrough. However, a masterful piece of business saw the acquisition of experienced forward Daryl Murphy. The 34-year old has led the line impressively, bagging seven goals this season. 

Whilst Forest have a number of promising young strikers available, the Reds have found goals hard to come by where Murphy has been absent. 

With goals crucial to any promotion push, Marc Warburton must surely consider strengthening up top during the January transfer window.   

3. Centre-Back

Whilst scoring has at times been a concern for Forest, conceding at the other end has also been problematic. 

Forest have conceded the fifth-highest number of goals in the Championship this season, with many coming from set-pieces or individual errors. 

Young defender Joe Worrall has shown significant potential in the centre back position. However, a natural leader alongside fellow defender Michael Mancienne would likely improve Forest’s wavering consistency.  

4. Winger

Warburton pulled off an excellent piece of business in the summer, recruiting Barrie Mckay, whom he had previously managed at Rangers. The 22-year old has already scored some crucial goals for Forest including an opening day winner against Millwall

Mckay, however, has a tendency to drift inside and a natural winger would not go a miss at Forest. Wide man, Mustapha Carayol has been somewhat inconsistent for the Reds, and Forest would certainly benefit from a winger comfortable on either flank.  

5. Left-Back

The left-back position has been a source concern for a number of years at Forest. Whilst the issue has been somewhat addressed by the up-turn in form of both Armand Traore and Danny Fox, many fans would argue that Forest still require strengthening in this position.

Captain Chris Cohen has impressed at left-back in the past, but frequent knee injuries have kept him from holding down the role in the long-term.