It’s been a lively morning in the East Midlands, with Aitor Karanka asking to be released from his Nottingham Forest contract.
The reasons and recriminations will doubtless continue through the next couple of weeks, but the fact remains Forest are now looking for their ninth manager in as many seasons.
There’s a feeling that this time the judgement has been a little harsh, Karanka had guided the side to seventh place and they looked equipped to make a push for the play-offs in the New Year.
Clearly, clashes behind the scenes have contributed to his decision and one wonders if he’s been jumped before he’s pushed.
Whatever the reasons, it leaves the Reds at yet another fork in the road with decisions to make and people needing to step up and work hard to carry them through the transitional phase. it’s thought Michael Dawson will play a key role over the coming days before a new man comes in.
Is this a good thing for Forest? There’s pros and cons to the decision, which we’ll examine now.
PRO: A chance to shake up under-achieving players
There’s a handful of players who have not achieved the levels expected of them. Gil Dias springs to mind, but across the park there’s been people not reaching their potential.
It might be personality clashes, a lack of motivation or failure to understand instructions, whatever the reason a new man gives those players a chance to make a fresh start.
CON: Lack of continuity
One thing a successful team needs is continuity, either in team selection or in their approach to the game. Repetition of tactics improves understanding and a settled first team has the same effect.
With a new manager coming in, there’s likely to be new ideas, set up and approach and that takes time to bed in. Time is what Forest don’t have, if they’re going to be in the top six they need to be on top form as soon as a new man sits down in the dugout.
PRO: A more attacking Forest
Being brutally honest, Forest haven’t been good value for their investment. Flair players such as Carvalho, Dias and Lolley have looked trapped in a rather pedestrian side at times. They not been adventurous like Leeds, attacking like West Brom or even offered a solid base to attack from like Sheffield United.
Putting the 5-5 draw with Villa aside, they’ve been tepid at best. A new manager will surely assess the players and look to have a much more attacking side in the coming weeks, in much the same way Dean Smith did at Villa.
CON: Fan dissention
This isn’t a universally popular move by the club or Karanka. The manager may have quit, but there’s clearly much more to it than him simply walking away. Rumours of him leaving have been abound for a while, increasing pressure all the time.
They face an uncertain future now, the fans aren’t entirely behind the board’s decision and a failure to keep up the pressure on the top six might see them turn on the owners who have spent so heavily.