When the Reds opted to hand over the reins to Cooper, they were facing the prospect of a relegation battle after failing to win any of their opening seven league games in the Championship.
The Forest head coach has managed to completely transform the club’s fortunes during his time at the club as they are now legitimate contenders for automatic promotion with three matches left to play.
Cooper’s side guaranteed a play-off spot last night by securing a 1-0 victory in their showdown with league leaders Fulham.
Philip Zinckernagel scored what turned out to be the winning goal for the Reds in the 15th minute of this fixture.
As a result of AFC Bournemouth’s draw with Swansea City, Forest are now only three points behind Scott Parker’s side in the Championship standings and are set to take on their rivals next week.
Following the club’s triumph over Fulham, Dawson offered his thoughts on Cooper’s impact at Forest.
“When he walked through the door in September, if you said that they would challenging for the top two, people would have laughed at you, and I would have been one of those people.
“It was impossible.
“Bottom of the league table to where they are now, chasing Bournemouth down.
“You see his emotion there (after Forest’s win over Fulham) and rightly so, because he deserves to have that passion and desire, because these Forest fans travel down in numbers.
“Tuesday night down to London, they will follow.
“They’ve done it for years, 23 years since they’ve been in the Premier League.
“They’re dreaming, they really, really are.”
Dawson’s comments are spot on as the job that Cooper has done is nothing short of spectacular as he has managed to bring a feel-good factor back to the City Ground this season.
As well as delivering the goods on a consistent basis in the Championship, Forest were extremely impressive in the FA Cup earlier this season as they eliminated Arsenal and Leicester City from this competition before suffering a narrow defeat at the hands of Liverpool last month.
Set to take on Swansea this weekend, the Reds will move above Bournemouth in the league if they win this fixture and their promotion rivals suffer defeat to a Blackburn Rovers side who are looking to secure a top-six finish under the guidance of Tony Mowbray.
Even if Forest miss out on automatic promotion, they have more than enough quality at their disposal to cause all kinds of issues for teams in the play-offs in May.