Nottingham Forest have decided to part company with Chris Hughton following a very difficult start to the Championship season.
Forest suffered their sixth defeat in their opening seven Championship matches on Wednesday night as they suffered a 2-0 loss at home to Middlesbrough.
That leaves the Reds with just one point from a possible 21 available at the start of the campaign and it was always going to be inevitable that the club would have to make a change in the dugout following that kind of run of form.
Hughton is a vastly experienced Championship manager and when he was appointed as Nottingham Forest manager back in October last year, the hope was that he could repeat what he did with the likes of Brighton and Newcastle United and lead the club to promotion.
However, things never really worked out for Hughton at Forest and he was never able to fully win over supporters with his style of play. He kept the club in the Championship comfortably last term, but they have failed to kick on this term and now a fresh start is needed.
So with Forest’s hunt for a new manager now underway, we take a look at FOUR issues that the new boss will have to sort out swiftly at the City Ground…
Finding the right formation and getting players in the right positions
For most of Hughton’s tenure at Nottingham Forest, he elected to persist with a 4-2-3-1, or 4-4-1-1 formation that was never really able to allow the Reds to be productive in the final third.
Hughton opted to play Lewis Grabban in more of a number ten role off Lyle Taylor in the last two matches and it is not a position that is best suited to the forward’s qualities.
There have been times when supporters have called on Forest to play with two forwards upfront, and whilst Hughton did try that on occasion it was arguably never given the extended run that it would have needed to really make a difference.
The exclusion of Joao Carvalho from the starting line-up for a lot of his tenure also left some supporters scratching their heads at times, especially considering that Hughton wanted to play with a number ten operating off a lone forward.
Whoever comes into replace Hughton will need to find the right system to suit the players available to Nottingham Forest at the moment.
There is the chance that a three-man defence could work with both Djed Spence and Max Lowe able to operate as wing-backs pretty comfortably.
That could enable the likes of Philip Zinckernagle, Joe Lolley, Brennan Johnson or Alex Mighten to be used in a front three alongside a forward, or it could be more of a 3-5-2 with both Grabban and Taylor upfront.
A clear formation and way of playing that is more expansive has to be one of the first issues that a new manager addresses straight away.
Quiz: Are each of these 18 celebrities a Nottingham Forest supporter or not?
Getting more goals into the team
Forest have suffered from a lack of goals throughout Hughton’s tenure at the City Ground and they have managed to score just five times in their opening seven league games this term.
That has seen the Reds be unable to take points from tight matches and they have ultimately ended up on the wrong end of defeats by a one-goal margin on five times.
The Reds are going to have to prioritise a manager that will be more expansive with the group of players that are available to them at the City Ground.
With the likes of Johnson, Zinckernagle, James Garner, Lolley and Mighten in the squad there should be a lot of players there who can create chances in the final third if they are given more freedom to express themselves.
Taking the shackles off seems to be the only way in which a new manager could get more goals into the side and that will be vital to any hope they have of turning things around for Forest.
Sorting out Forest’s form at the City Ground
Another massive issue that the new manager will have to solve at Nottingham Forest is sorting out the Reds dismal recent record at the City Ground.
Hughton managed to win just once in Nottingham Forest’s last seven home matches in the Championship last season and that form has been carried into this campaign.
The defeat against Middlesbrough on Wednesday night was the Reds’ fourth straight loss at the City Ground this season and that was a large factor in why supporters started to turn on Hughton towards the end of his tenure.
Whoever comes into the club to take over from Hughton must get Forest back to winning ways at the City Ground as soon as possible.
Forest managed just six wins at home all season last term and if that sort of record is maintained under a new manager then it will be almost impossible to make progress.
Deciding what to do with Carvalho’s situation
Hughton was never able to get to grips with Carvalho’s situation at Nottingham Forest.
He allowed the attacking midfielder to leave the City Ground out on loan last season to Almeria, but he has kept him as part of the squad for the start of this term.
Undoubtedly there is a talented player there if Forest can find the right coach to unlock Carvalho’s potential.
At times he has shown a lot of quality, and the hope would have been that his brace against Bradford City in the League Cup a few weeks might have been the springboard for him to get back to his best.
Despite that, he ended Hughton’s tenure back on the bench with Grabban playing ahead of him in the number ten role.
If Forest get a more attack-minded manager into the club they might be able to get a lot more use out of Carvalho. Considering the investment they made in him that has to be something they try to prioritise.