This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
With four straight defeats in the league and a 4-0 thumping in the second round of the League Cup, Chris Hughton’s future at Nottingham Forest is certainly coming under the microscope.
Previous promotion winner from the division or not, it has been a terrible start, he inherited a squad, despite being ageing, that had narrowly missed out on finishing in the play-offs, so another season teetering above the bottom three will not suffice.
Philip Zinckernagel has made a good impact since joining on loan from Watford but they need more in the final week of the transfer window. With the international break looming, a decision from Forest feels likely to come if they do not win the East Midlands Derby against Wayne Rooney’s Derby County on Saturday.
Here, we get the thoughts of a selection of FLW writers on whether or not Chris Hughton must win the East Midlands Derby to keep his job at Nottingham Forest…
Hughton is on the ropes at Forest and defeat to Derby this weekend could be the final blow for his spell with the club.
Whether that’s the right thing or not, I’m not entirely convinced. For a long time now, Forest have chopped and changed managers too often when the going has got tough. However, it’s not nice viewing at the City Ground right now.
The fans are on Hughton’s back and it’s a long way towards recovery for him to get everyone back on board.
A win over Derby might just paper over the cracks with Hughton at the moment, whilst the international break will also just give him time to react to a tough start.
Defeat, though, given what’s gone before and how fans are feeling, is going to be tough for Hughton to recover from.
I think there’s a good case to suggest that he does need to win this one, yes.
Unfortunately, Forest are rather repeating mistakes and slow starts from seasons gone by and it’s clear that Chris Hughton is well under pressure.
The former Newcastle manager has got a lot of fans on his back right now and social media is proving an unfriendly place towards the boss, too, with many of them thinking he should be gone already.
A win against Derby would obviously be a start but he’d need to build on that to really win some of the support back, and I do think losing against the Rams would be the final straw.
The international break follows this weekend and that’s normally a prime time for managerial changes to go ahead so, if Forest have someone in mind, I can see Hughton getting the axe if things don’t go to plan this weekend.
I think due to the history that Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis has with parting company with managers at Olympiakos – although they now have a long-serving one of over three years – Hughton should probably be looking over his shoulder.
It has simply been a disastrous start to the season for Hughton and Forest but I wouldn’t give him too much criticism for the result in the Carabao Cup against Wolves, even though he could have easily selected a strong team instead of picking a lot of young players.
In the league though you wouldn’t have expected zero points out of a possible 12 when you look at the quality of players Hughton has had to choose from – despite the need to strengthen in a lot of areas still.
Hughton has enough experience about him as a manager though to psych his team up for a big clash with Derby, and if the players aren’t going to be up for a match like that then there really is no hope.
Obviously Derby have their own issues but have started the season better than expected, however when you put the two expected line-ups on paper many would pick Forest’s as the stronger, and a defeat against the Rams would spell the end of his time at the City Ground – it’s simply a must-win game.