Championship side Nottingham Forest will be hoping to stay in the promotion mix for the remainder of the season after making such a promising start under the stewardship of Steve Cooper.
He may have already been at the City Ground, but this feels like the start of something special considering how well the Reds have played, matching their results with some excellent performances both in and away from the East Midlands.
How they react to their 2-0 loss against Middlesbrough in their last outing though could end up defining their season, with Huddersfield Town travelling to Forest tomorrow in what may be a crucial match between two play-off hopefuls.
Quiz: Did Nottingham Forest do these 22 things in 2021?
With five loanees arriving at the club in the summer, Cooper’s side will be looking ahead to the January transfer window knowing they could be limited in the number of temporary additions they could make, though potential recalls could change the game for CEO Dane Murphy and his recruitment team.
Nonetheless, they have been linked with plenty of players in recent weeks and will almost certainly be backing Welshman Cooper to recruit the players he needs after seeing the 42-year-old make such a fast start at the City Ground.
Departures could also be on the horizon though and with this in mind, we have picked out some of the biggest Forest transfer talking points to delve into.
Who’s coming in to support Grabban?
Numerous strikers have been linked with a move to the second-tier side recently, with Lyle Taylor and Lewis Grabban the main orthodox centre-forward options they have at their disposal.
Although Grabban has been firing, scoring ten goals in 22 league matches so far this term, Taylor has struggled once again. In fairness to the latter, he hasn’t had much of a chance to impress with a limited number of minutes on the pitch, but is that a damning indictment of his performances in training? Only Cooper would be able to answer that.
Loanee Philip Zinckernagel has played in a more central role in recent times, but they would ideally want another goalscorer to provide competition and cover for 33-year-old Grabban as they look to sustain their promotion push.
Football League World understands Forest are currently monitoring Brentford forward Marcus Forss’ situation in the English capital, with Newcastle United’s Dwight Gayle, Inter Milan’s Martin Satriano and Benfica’s Goncalo Ramos also reported to be on their radar.
The East Midlands outfit weren’t afraid to look further afield for additions in the summer, reinforced by the arrivals of Braian Ojeda and Mohamed Drager, so it would be no surprise to see one of the latter two come in. Gayle seems the most unlikely addition.
The state of play with Johnson
As per The Telegraph’s John Percy, Premier League outfit Brentford had a £10m bid for Brennan Johnson rejected earlier this month, with Forest remaining clear he’s not for sale and the player himself reportedly wanting to stay.
The Sun believes the Bees are willing to pay as much as £14m as they look to invest heavily in January in a bid to retain their top-flight status, although a move at this stage looks unlikely with the Welsh international’s father and ex-Reds man David stating he won’t be leaving during the upcoming window.
The same Sun report also states that the 20-year-old is waiting to see if a ‘bigger club’ come in to lure him away from the East Midlands after making the step up to the Championship seamlessly this term and recording five goals and four assists in 24 second-tier displays.
Arsenal, Leeds United, Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur have also been linked with a move for the winger, but with Johnson developing well at his current side and seemingly enjoying life there, it would be a surprise to see him move on next month.
Is Cook a viable option?
The Championship outfit are also reported by Football Insider to be monitoring AFC Bournemouth centre-back Steve Cook ahead of the transfer window, with the 30-year-old falling down the pecking order at the Vitality Stadium.
Finding himself competing with Gary Cahill, Lloyd Kelly and Chris Mepham for a starting spot at the heart of defence, Cherries manager Scott Parker has admitted the central defender could be on his way out of the club after spending a decade on the south coast.
For a side that are also reported to be monitoring another centre-back in John Souttar, it wouldn’t be a major surprise to see a move materialise to bolster the back three but would be a less likely addition than other defenders considering CEO Murphy wants to reduce the average age of the Reds’ squad.
Newcastle United, Watford and QPR are also thought to be interested in his signature, with the latter currently ahead of Cooper’s men in the queue to secure his services.