The new look back three system has been a breath of fresh air at the City Ground since the departure of Chris Hughton.
Nottingham Forest seem to have turned a corner and have picked up three wins and a draw in the fixtures following Hughton’s sacking.
The back three was first present in Steven Reid’s game in caretaker charge, a 2-0 win at Huddersfield Town, and is suiting the squad down to the ground with Max Lowe and Djed Spence opening their accounts for the club in more advanced wing back roles.
Steve Cooper told The Athletic about one of the subtleties of the system in looking to play attacking football despite deploying an extra centre back.
He said: “We have three in the backline, but you don’t always want those three to be behind the ball. You want one to go in and give you eight attacking players. It keeps you higher up the pitch and gives you a chance to get onto the opposition backline.”
The players look to be growing into their new roles with every game and are clearly buying into Cooper’s philosophy.
The Welshman has finished in the top six in both of his previous seasons as a Championship manager with Swansea City, the early signs suggest he could be set to achieve similar despite the slow start at the City Ground this term.
Beating Birmingham City 3-0 was a statement of intent, Lee Bowyer’s men have been impressive in the early exchanges of the season but with their new found clinical edge Forest made the scoreline very comfortable.
With the challenges of Fulham, Queens Park Rangers and Sheffield United following the international break it will become clear whether the Reds are capable of sustaining the bounce.
If Cooper’s methods continue to be as effective as they were at Swansea and in the infancy of his reign at the City Ground, then there is no reason why Forest cannot push on and keep a top six dream alive for the majority of the campaign.