Chris Hughton is aware of how important recruitment is in regards to winning promotion from the Championship – and his experience of doing so with Brighton and Hove Albion shows just that.
Hughton took over at the AMEX from Sami Hyypia midway through the 2014/15 campaign, with the Seagulls hovering above the Championship relegation zone after a poor start to the season.
The 62-year-old led Albion to safety, finishing six points clear of the drop come the end of the season before a busy summer transfer window came along.
After reshaping his squad and being given the license to bring his own players in, Hughton led Brighton to third in the 2015/16 campaign, as they narrowly missed out to Middlesbrough in the race for automatic promotion. Nevertheless, further tweaks were made the following summer and Brighton ended up going one further, finishing second behind Newcastle United and winning automatic promotion to the Premier League.
Hughton will hope that there are similarities from his time on the South Coast compared to now in the East Midlands with Forest, as he looks to rebuild his squad this summer.
“I would be delighted if there were similarities,” Hughton tells Football League World.
“Probably the only difference is that I’ve had more time here. I initially went in at Brighton on the first day of January, so in essence, I’ve had three extra months here.
“But we did have a big summer, and we did recruit a lot in that summer. We went on to make the playoffs in that first season. It shows how important recruitment was for us at the time.
“We have no choice but to recruit here.
“At this moment, we have five loan players going back and some players at this moment are set to be out of contract. We will have to recruit well this summer.
“That will be the basis of next season, and by the time the season starts, us as managers can have a good feel about where we are as a team and how confident we are of getting to the places we want to get to.”
Hughton arrived at the City Ground in October, with the club having lost their opening four games of the season under predecessor Sabri Lamouchi. Fast forward over six months and the Reds are all but safe from the drop, sitting 11 points clear of the bottom three in 18th position.
There have been slight improvements over the course of the season, but Hughton knows that he will have a big job in reshaping his squad and recruiting wisely this summer, if history is to repeat itself and if Forest are to replicate his success at the AMEX.