After a frustrating campaign for Dougie Freedman’s Nottingham Forest which has seen them finish in an underachieving 14th spot, numerous injuries once again and being placed under a transfer embargo, it is feasible to say Forest have had a season to forget.
In what could be a summer full of struggle under the transfer embargo, recruitment is going to be very difficult for Freedman who can only sign players on a free transfer or loan.
So who could emerge as a realistic player for Forest to sign? After his surprising release from Bristol City, could striker Jay Emmanuel-Thomas be the man to help fire the Reds to the Premier League next season? I firmly believe he can.
Firstly, with Forest only able to offer £10,000 a week in wages for any player, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas may be a player Freedman could persuade to join.
The striker has found chances limited at Ashton Gate this season, only starting 10 times, and an offer from a club, stooped in history who will guarantee him game time, may be very tempting.
With record signing Britt Assombalonga ruled out till next year, a huge blow for Forest, Emmanuel-Thomas may be the player to fill the void after netting 12 goals for the Robins last season and playing his part in remarkable season for Steve Cotterill and his side.
With a little more game time under his belt and the creativity of talented players such as Henri Lansbury, Michail Antonio and Andy Reid behind him, the 24-year-old could definitely reach a respectable tally if he moved to Forest next season. Something the Forest faithful would love to see.
After signing striker Britt Assombalonga from League One side Peterborough United, the 22-year-old made a quick adjustment to life in the Sky Bet Championship, netting 15 goals and sitting as Forest’s joint top scorer despite missing the remaining months of the season.
Without the horrific knee injury he sustained, he could have arguably been fighting for the golden boot with Daryl Murphy, Troy Deeney and Callum Wilson.
Wilson is another example of a League One success. AFC Bournemouth snapped up their man from Coventry City last Summer and it was certainly a risk that paid off. Wilson netted a stunning 23 goals for the Cherries this season and fired them to the Sky Bet Championship trophy and Premier League football in a memorable campaign for Eddie Howe and his team.
Signing a League One player is always a risk, but a free transfer who knows where the net is, plus having already gained valuable Championship experience with Ipswich Town, would be a perfect fit for Nottingham Forest.
Much like the Forest player of the season Michail Antonio, Emmanuel-Thomas has the ability to create something out of nothing and has proved himself as match winner in his time at Ashton Gate where in each of the 10 games Emmanuel-Thomas has scored in, Bristol City have won.
Sometimes criticised for not fitting in with the high tempo style Steve Cotterill has adopted for his side, the big, fast and powerful forward has potential to the light up the City Ground next season and could potentially replicate Antonio’s successful first year on Trentside with their similar attributes.
An attack, partnered with Matty Fryatt and supplied by Forest’s endless list of creative players could cause havoc in the Championship next season and by winning the race to sign the 24 year old on a free transfer, with Birmingham City and other clubs rumoured to be sniffing, it would be real coup for Dougie Freedman with a striker on the top of his list this transfer window.