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After a week of looking back, how can Forest move forwards?

15 Oct | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
After a week of looking back, how can Forest move forwards?

As Brian Clough’s legendary 1979 side lights up the big screen, Dougie Freedman is trying to end the Reds' 16-year spell outside the top flight

By Joe Mewis

It may have been an international break, but Nottingham Forest have had more than their fair share of coverage in the national media over the past 10 days.

Sunday night saw Brian Clough’s legendary European Cup winning side reunite for the premier of I Believe In Miracles, a new documentary film that explores Forest’s extraordinary four-year rise from Division Two also-rans to European champions.

And while one of English football’s greatest ever achievements makes a fine film, it also highlights just how far Forest are currently away from the big time.

Outside of the top flight since the turn of the millennium, every stride forward seems to be followed by one or two backwards.

So just how can Dougie Freedman stop the cycle of mediocrity at the City Ground?

A stop-start campaign so far sees the Scot’s side sitting at 14th place in Championship and further inspection of the league table gives a big clue as to why.

Only 23rd-place Preston have scored fewer goals than Forest so far this season, with Freedman’s men netting only nine times in their 10 games as defender Matt Mills leads their league goalscoring charts with just two goals.

It is not for a lack of trying, though, as they are averaging more shots at goal per game than any other team in the division and their performances in recent weeks have been better than their record of one win from their last four games suggests.

Nelson Oliveira, in particular, has been guilty of missing a series of chances, but he has the look of a man who will click in front of goal once he finds his scoring boots – if Freedman keeps the faith.

This Friday sees Forest visit rock-bottom Bristol City in a match which Sky have deemed has enough subplots for it to get the Friday night lights treatment.

City are managed by former Forest boss Steve Cotterill and can only boast of one win all season and if he is to get one over his former employers, the current boss may begin to sweat.

That would be a shame.

Realistically speaking, this is a season where Forest must tread water. The club must take their medicine following their FFP breaches and ride out this campaign as best they can.

In Freedman they have a manager who can keep the ship steady and there are certainly worse squads in the league, which means relegation should be avoided, provided the club don’t do anything daft.

The majority of the fan-base know this, but Freedman could be forgiven for worrying about the current mood of Fawaz Al-Hasawi.

If the Forest owner’s patience gets the better of him and he doesn’t allow his manager to continue to build the foundations for a play-off run next season, then Forest face the prospect of reaching a full two-decade exile from the top flight.

And in need of another miracle worker to follow in Cloughie’s footsteps and get them back where they belong.

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