As a Nottingham Forest fan it is fair to say it has not been a very exciting summer in the transfer window so far, stuck in a transfer embargo after breaking financial fair play rules, meaning we can only sign players on a free transfer or loan on wages no more than £10,000 a week.
Quite the opposite to the exciting and optimistic times we had last year with names arriving through the door such as Michail Antonio and record signing Britt Assombalonga led by our club legend Stuart Pearce.
So what does this season have in store for my team under manager Dougie Freedman? Well we go into the season without some key players once again.
The loss of Andy Reid and Chris Cohen in the same game, against our fiercest rival’s Derby County, was a massive blow for us early into last season.
With a fully fit Reid and Cohen in the centre of the park, could last season have been different? The curse then struck again in March, losing our record signing and current top goalscorer Britt Assombalonga with a serious knee injury, the sort of luck us Forest fans have become accustomed to over the last few seasons.
Our squad has undeniably got heaps of talent with players such as Henri Lansbury, Michail Antonio, Michael Mancienne the sort of players that do have the ability to win you football matches.
If you can keep them fit and firing then it would be wrong to rule us out of having some success this season. The return of Cohen and Matty Fryatt will certainly be welcomed early into the season as well as Assombalonga’s later introduction will be provide a huge boost to our attacking line. For not the first time, injuries and how well we keep players fit will be crucial in determining how well Forest do this year.
Being under a transfer embargo is surely very tough for Dougie Freedman, with trying to please fans who are guilty of expecting the best after our successes under the great Brian Clough.
In my view, the former Bolton Wanderers man should be applauded for his work so far as manager.
Taking over a side with little confidence and riddled by injuries in early February, Forest were only seven points off the relegation zone.
By the end of the season, after some impressive victories over promoted AFC Bournemouth and play-off finalist’s Middlesbrough, Freedman carried us over the line taking us 18 points away from the drop.
Yes, we finished 14th which was certainly disappointing, but the 41-year-old is approaching the new season with a very refreshing and positive outlook.
After a gruelling pre-season tour in Sweden, gaining some valuable minutes and fitness under the player’s belts, Freedman looks to have a plan and clear focus on what he wants from his side this year.
He knows promotion may not happen this season or the season after, but if he can put the building blocks together then it will provide a better secure future for the Reds.
This is something former managers Billy Davies and Stuart Pearce may have forced expecting that because they signed some talented players, promotion would just happen.
The job has been made extra difficult under the embargo, but the captures of Matt Mills from Bolton Wanderers and Jamie Ward from Derby County are already an impressive piece of business.
Forest have lacked the sort of gritty and nastiness that these sort of players will provide as well as a wealth of Championship experience.
If he can sign a few more players that can benefit the side, in what looks like being another very tough season in the Championship for all, you have to applaud his patience and his negotiating.
I think it would be fair to say that in our 150th Anniversary, the optimism for the forthcoming season is not there as much as it was last season. But could this be a good thing? In my view I believe it is.
Yes, we need to make some further additions such as a goalkeeper and a striker, but it has to be quality not quantity in our position.
Without the expectation of fans believing we should be challenging for promotion this season after being limited in the transfer market and some big names missing, it may be the refreshing outlook we need.
If Forest can quietly go about their business, winning most home games and picking up points away from home, without any added pressure that has circulating for the last few seasons due to expectation, us as fans could end up being pleasantly surprised where we end up.
I believe that Freedman has plans for the future and we all need to stay patient, give him time and back the team as well as we do each year which I know will happen. The squad is filled with talent and plenty of youngsters who can make a difference this season, we just have to trust Freedman to do a job.
I believe Forest will finish 10th this season. If reports that our transfer embargo finishes after the January Transfer window then I confidently believe that the season after next could be the one where we achieve promotion. But in our 150th Anniversary, it wouldn’t be a bad time for us to do it, would it?