With mathematical safety now secured, Chris Hughton’s attention will now turn towards the summer where he will look to strengthen his Nottingham Forest squad.
It hasn’t been the season many Forest fans were expecting after narrowly missing out on a play-off finish last season. There have been signs of improvement, though, and the onus is now on the manager to strengthen his squad and ensure 2021/22 is a much more positive campaign.
With five loan players set to return to their parent clubs and seven set to be out of contract, it promises to be another summer of transition on Trentside, and fans will be hoping to see a change of direction in regards to recruitment this summer.
Football Insider claim that Forest are set to reignite their interest in Kyle Dempsey, having been interested in signing the Gillingham captain in January. But a bid is now said to be being prepared for the 25-year-old, who is valued at a price of around £500,000 to £750,000.
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Dempsey has been in fine form for the Gills side since joining the League One side from Fleetwood Town in the summer, scoring eight goals and chipping in with five assists from midfield across 42 appearances.
He’s previously been on the books at Huddersfield Town, but dropped down into League One having failed to cut it at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Now 25 years of age, he has earned rave reviews in the third tier, and represents an up and coming option eager to make the step up.
Forest have been guilty of signing experienced, established, high-earning players in recent windows, with Harry Arter, Jack Colback and Fouad Bachirou all joining the club in the summer, but find themselves at the bottom of the pecking order ahead of next season.
A move for Dempsey is also likely to hinge on what happens with James Garner, who has been an impressive figure since joining on loan from Manchester United in January.
The midfielder could be sent abroad, reports claim, but given how well he’s settled at Forest under Hughton, the Red Devils may let him return on loan next season.
Dempsey represents a very similar option to Garner, though. He is a technically-gifted player who can operate in a deep-lying role and keep things ticking over nicely in the middle of the park, whilst also possessing the knowhow to push forward and create chances.
Dempsey’s arrival would perhaps hint that Garner won’t be returning to the City Ground, but having a young, hungry player at the City Ground on a permanent basis would be a positive step.