Nottingham Forest are hoping Chris Hughton can work some of his magic next year at the City Ground, with supporters thirsty for success after another drab season of Championship football.
Hughton was Sabri Lamouchi’s successor after a lacklustre start to the 2020/21 campaign, but the former Newcastle and Brighton boss failed to truly inspire Forest.
They drifted towards a mediocre finish, yet there’s still reason to be positive.
Hughton has shown with Newcastle and Brighton he knows what it takes to crack promotion in the Championship, with Forest’s immediate task to get his squad in the best possible shape to challenge.
There’s a need to bring in senior players to align with how Hughton wants to play, but there’s also hope in the East Midlands that the Forest boss bloods some of the young talent he has available to him.
On the latter topic, we pick out TWO kids we expect to breakthrough in the next 12 months…
There’s not really anywhere else to start. A player you cannot ignore at the moment in Brennan Johnson.
Johnson spent last season on loan with Lincoln City in League One, inspiring the Imps to the play-off final, where they came up just short against Blackpool.
The 20-year-old excelled under Michael Appleton with 11 goals and five assists, producing attacking variety and the type of fearlessness that was often missing at Forest in 20/21.
It’s a no-brainer that Hughton is going to take a look at the Welsh international over pre-season and the likelihood is that Johnson will start the new campaign in-and-around the first team.
Of course, he’s got to show he can make the step up a level, but there’s little doubt in his ability.
We can’t ignore him and neither can Hughton. He could be central to Forest’s plans next year.
Loic Mbe Soh
We are speculating slightly here by playing on the fact that Joe Worrall could well be on the move out of the City Ground this summer. Speculation follows the centre-back around every transfer window, but something might eventually give ahead of 2021/22.
In that case, Mbe Soh comes into the reckoning.
The 20-year-old made seven appearances last season in the Championship and will be pushing on for more involvement in the coming campaign.
He’s got an excellent pedigree given he’s stepped out of PSG’s academy, even if he is slightly on the inexperienced side.
Hughton may opt to bring in a more experienced option should Worrall depart, but he will also consider Mbe Soh.
If the young centre-back can starting delivering on his potential, there’s the possibility he could be a star in the coming campaign.