Having guided Nottingham Forest to a ninth place finish in the Championship standings last month, Martin O’Neill will be aiming to turn his side legitimate contenders for the play-offs next season.
Yet in order to achieve this feat, it is imperative that the 67-year-old learns from the mistakes which led to the club finishing eight points adrift of arch-rivals Derby County who finished in sixth place.
Whilst the Reds were reasonably strong when playing at home during the 2018/19 campaign, the fact that they only won four games on their travels certainly didn’t help their cause.
With O’Neill being brought in to transform the club’s fortunes following Aitor Karanka’s failure to get them promoted, the pressure is now on for him to deliver as if he doesn’t, it wouldn’t be surprising if he suffers the same fate as the Spaniard.
Keeping this in mind, here are THREE things that we think the Reds boss should do differently next season…
Play two up-front
When you consider that Forest were out-performed by 12 sides in the goal-scoring department last season, it may be worth O’Neill making a slight alteration to his formation to incorporate two strikers.
With Lewis Grabban finding the back of the net on 17 occasions, it could be argued that he may be even more lethal alongside a fellow forward who compliments his style of play.
Although this could require O’Neill dipping his feet in the transfer market, if it results in a successful 2019/20 campaign, it is something that he simply has to do.
Throw caution to the wind away from home
Even though Forest only lost eight of their 23 away games last year, the fact that they finished 12th in the away table suggests that they could benefit considerably from being a bit more expansive next season.
With the likes of Sheffield United and Norwich City highlighting the rewards that being adventurous can bring, there would be no harm if O’Neill tries to replicate the tactics used by Chris Wilder and Daniel Farke.
Make the City Ground an intimidating place to visit for their rivals
During the height of Brian Clough’s reign at Forest, visiting teams must have dreaded having to play at the City Ground due to the atmosphere that the fans were able to create.
Yet whilst there is no doubting the current crop of supporters are equally as vociferous, they have had fairly little to shout about in recent years barring the occasional showdown with Derby.
However, if O’Neill can make the Reds’ home a fortress next season, he will in turn bring back a feel good factor to the club which could result in the club qualifying for the play-offs for the first time since 2011 next May.