Nottingham Forest 2023/24 season preview: Key players, summer transfers, squad numbers & predictions

  • Nottingham Forest narrowly avoided relegation last season from the Premier League
  • Steve Cooper has a difficult job on his hands to stay up again
  • Forest face Arsenal, Man Utd, Chelsea and Man City away from home in their first six games

Nottingham Forest are hoping to build on a successful return to the top flight
Nottingham Forest are hoping to build on a successful return to the top flight / Matt Burt | 90min
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After having only been promoted through the Championship play-offs, signing a gazillion players and starting the Premier League season so poorly, few gave Nottingham Forest any hope of beating the drop last campaign.

However, Steve Cooper and his 423-man squad had other ideas, turning the club's fortunes around and finishing 16th. While their future was safe heading into the final day of last season, it was all a little too close for comfort at the City Ground.

Having avoided the drop, it is now Cooper's job to make sure this season is more comfortable. Forest have taken a more measured approach in this summer's transfer window, and with a year of Premier League experience in the bank, supporters will be hoping that this can be a season of stability for the Midlands club.

Here's 90min's preview of Nottingham Forest's 2023/24 season.


Nottingham Forest's performance last five seasons

Season

Premier League

FA Cup

EFL Cup

2022/23

16th

R3

Semi-final

2021/22*

4th (promoted via play-offs)

Quarter-final

R2

2020/21*

17th

R4

R1

2019/20*

7th

R3

R3

2018/19*

9th

R3

R4

*Forest played in the Championship during 2018/19, 2019/20, 2020/21 and 2021/22.


Summer transfers

Ins:

  • Anthony Elanga (FW) - Manchester United - £15m
  • Chris Wood (FW) - Newcastle United - £15m
  • Matt Turner (GK) - Arsenal - £10m
  • Ola Aina (DF) - Torino - free

Outs:

Out

  • Jack Colback (MF) - Queens Park Rangers - free
  • Will Swan (FW) - Mansfield - free transfer
  • Jordan Smith (GK) - released
  • Andre Ayew (FW) - released
  • Cafu (MF) - Rotherham - free transfer
  • Jesse Lingard (MF) - released
  • Lyle Taylor (ST) - released
  • William Fewster (MF) - released
  • Alexander Gibson-Hammond (MF) - released
  • Ryan Hammond (GK) - released
  • Nicky Hogarth (GK) - released
  • Adnan Kanuric (GK) - released
  • Lewis Salmon (FW) - released
  • Finley Back (DF) - Carlisle - loan
  • Sam Surridge (FW) - Nashville SC - undisclosed
  • Oli Hammond (MF) - Cheltenham - loan
  • Josh Bowler (FW) - Cardiff - loan

Squad numbers

*Numbers subject to change before end of transfer window

Number

Name

2

Giulian Biancone

3

Steve Cook

4

Joe Worrall

5

Orel Mangala

6

Jonjo Shelvey

7

Neco Williams

8

Cheikhou Kouyate

9

Taiwo Awoniyi

10

Morgan Gibbs-White

11

Chris Wood

13

Wayne Hennessey

14

Lewis O'Brien

15

Harry Toffolo

17

Alex Mighten

18

Felipe

19

Moussa Niakhate

20

Brennan Johnson

21

Anthony Elanga

22

Ryan Yates

23

Remo Freuler

24

Serge Aurier

25

Emmanuel Dennis

26

Scott McKenna

27

Omar Richards

28

Danilo

30

Willy Boly

31

Gustavo Scarpa

34

Ethan Horvath

35

Ui-jo Hwang

39

Jonathan Panzo

42

Ola Aina

*Matt Turner, Harry Arter and Loic Mbe Soh haven't been assigned squad numbers at the time of writing.


Key players

Morgan Gibbs-White
Gibbs-White blossomed at the City Ground / BSR Agency/GettyImages

Morgan Gibbs-White played an absolutely crucial part in Forest's survival last season, acting as one of the few consistently creative forces within Cooper's side.

Gibbs-White registered eight Premier League assists last season - more than Jack Grealish, Martin Odegaard and Son Heung-min - including a delightful set-up in a crucial 4-3 win over Southampton which perfectly exemplified his quality in attacking positions.

Following a sensational tournament triumph with England at the Under-21 European Championship, Gibbs-White's confidence should be through the roof, and he will be hoping to build on the success of last season with Forest.


One to watch

Taiwo Awoniyi
Awoniyi's goals were crucial for Forest / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Taiwo Awoniyi endured a slow start to life with Forest following his move from Union Berlin last summer, yet he finished the campaign with ten Premier League goals, many of which proved pivotal in Forest's survival bid.

He finished the season with six goals in his last four league matches including a brace against Chelsea and a winner against Arsenal. If Awoniyi can pick up from where he left off, he should have no trouble reaching double digits again this coming season.

The colossal centre-forward is well-suited to life in England and could again be the difference-maker for Forest in front of goal.


2023/24 kits

Home kit

Emmanuel Dennis
Dennis dons Forest's new plain home kit / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Away kit

Serge Aurier
Aurier is Forest's white and blue away shirt / Christian Kaspar-Bartke/GettyImages

Third kit


Premier League prediction

Ultimately, success or failure for Forest next season will be defined by whether they are still in the Premier League this time next year. While they managed to avoid relegation following their return to the top-flight, Cooper will be looking to avoid the dreaded second-season syndrome.

There is likely more business to be conducted before the transfer window slams shut as well, which could be defining, but Cooper now has a better understanding of his squad heading into the new campaign.

This season provides an opportunity for Forest to solidify themselves a Premier League club, but it will be almighty challenge to beat the drop.

Nottingham Forest 2023/24 Premier League prediction - 16th


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