There’s probably still a few weary and bleary eyes over at Nottingham Forest at the moment after a hectic climax to their transfer window.
After weeks of inactivity as Aitor Karanka assessed his new squad that he inherited mid-January, the Reds suddenly sprung into life as a host of new players walked in to the City Ground.
Meanwhile, plenty left during the final hours of the window, too, as Karanka and Forest went about their transfer business with almost ruthless efficiency to assemble a much different – but arguably stronger – looking squad than what they had at the start of January.
The proof will be in the pudding, of course, as the new look Forest faces Fulham this weekend but things certainly look exciting for the future after what we saw earlier this week – sentiments echoed by Adam Virgo.
As the dust firmly settles on the January window, then, I caught up with the former Brighton star turned BT Sport pundit to take a look at Forest’s business and why it could lead to good times ahead…
“Of course, it is a massive risk with such a big turnover of players. When I was at Bristol Rovers Paul Buckle bought in 17 new players during the summer and we just didn’t gel as a team.
“Barnsley seem to do this thing well where they pick players from other teams within the leagues and mould them together and I think Karanka’s done well.
“Jack Colback is an excellent signing. There might be an issue with Colback’s fitness initially as he hasn’t played much but it’s a good signing.
“I watched them live against Sheffield Wednesday they were light in midfield. They’ve a lot of good youngsters like Worrall and Brereton but the experience that Colback and Guedioura will bring into the fold is needed.
“Joe Lolley I saw at Kidderminster. I do a lot of National League coverage and I saw him and thought he’s a class class player. I think he’ll fall into the mould of good Championship midfielder. I think he is excellent and he probably feels that he wants to play regularly and get the form that got him his move in the first place to Huddersfield.
“Then with Lee Tomlin from Cardiff, Pantilimon, Dejagah and Figueiredo you can see Karanka has gone for experience and that is what Forest needed when I saw them v Wednesday.
“Whether or not it’s too late to push this season remains to be seen because the players have not all been playing regularly, one or two have but not many.
“Maybe they’re the side to watch next year though because I think they have signed very very well. I don’t think they’ll be able to turn it around this year but the Championship is an unpredictable league and so you never know. I can see they’ve gone for players with an abundance of experience and he’s got rid of some so the squad won’t be crowded and he’s been backed very very well.
“I think it’s exciting time for Forest – there’s a good mix of experience and youth there and you’ve got to remember they only just stayed up last season so to turn it around in six months is a lot to ask to make them top six contenders, but I think Karanka has done well and they’ve got a very strong squad now.
“They’ll be the team that can beat anyone on their day this season now. They’ll cause upsets like beating a Villa or Derby in the promotion race or sending a team down so it’ll be interesting to see how they gel and if they do that quickly they’ll be a decent side.”