Nottingham Forest have not decided to go route one in their pursuit of Premier League football.

They are, however, looking to take a more direct road to the top.

And that is no bad thing.

There is a time and a place for pretty football and you are not going to get very far unless you can play a bit.

The Championship is, however, a division for getting the job done.

By any means necessary.

Get yourself into the final third more often and the chances are that goals and victories will follow.

Play with width, or two strikers, a diamond in midfield, whatever it takes.

Martin O’Neill has shown during his short time with the Reds that he is prepared to experiment.

That is because a winning formula is being sought and no opponent poses the same challenge.


(Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images)

You need to have more than Plan A.

Aitor Karanka could have been accused of ignoring that advice as he put unwavering faith in his philosophy.

O’Neill has ripped up that blueprint and will play things as he sees it.

Costel Pantilimon has told the Nottingham Post of the changes: “It is a different way to approach the games, with a different manager and different ideas.

“After a few games we are trying to understand what the manager wants and we are starting to improve.

“The approach is a more direct game. We are a bit more competitive, we try to use our strikers as much as possible and our wingers as well.

“It is a different way. You can see it from your side of things, the difference between the two managers. The results are the most important thing. Achieving the play-offs is the target at the moment.”

That may prove to be a bridge too far for Forest.

The table may have the Reds just two places off the top six, but there is a six-point gap having played at least a game more than all of those immediately above them.

Progress is being made though.


Taking a managerial post midway through a season and inheriting somebody else’s squad is never easy.

O’Neill has never pretended it would be.

He has been at pains to point out from the moment he got his feet under the table that patience would be required.

Points have been collected throughout that process, while a few more have been snatched away.

A format which works has been found.

And it is one which is keeping everybody on their toes, with it impossible to second guess the Reds at the moment.

Be that team selection or tactical approach, each passing fixture brings something a little different.

That approach should be applauded.

Forest may be more direct, but they are heading towards the right path after losing their way somewhat under Karanka.

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