Nottingham Forest’s current squad is far too big.

I think we can all agree on that.

To have 44 players tied to the club is an unfortunate consequence of recent goings on at the City Ground.

If you are going to change manager every five minutes, then fresh faces are going to keep coming through the door.

With academy graduates then added to the pot every 12 months.

Something needs to be done.

And quickly.

Reds legend Garry Birtles has said in the Nottingham Post: “It’s ridiculous to have 44 players in the squad and that has got to change drastically.

“I think the next step is for everybody to stand back, accept we’re just about out of the play-off race and look at trimming that squad down.

“You can’t go through a season with that many players.

“Previously, Mark Warburton and Aitor Karanka have both talked about working with a smaller squad, maybe 22 or 23 players, and now there’s double that – if you include the youngsters out on loan at league clubs.

“There’s got to be a clean sweep, clear out the deadwood and get the numbers of the squad reduced dramatically, have your plans of action when it comes to players coming in, get a good pre-season under your belts, and see where it takes you.”


(Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

Wise words.

Easier said than done though.

To cull half of the playing staff this summer will be a big ask.

For whoever is at the helm.

There is every likelihood that Martin O’Neill will be given the chance to see out his 18-month deal, so we are back to the search for fresh faces.

Some contracts are expiring, loan deals ending, so there are a few easy cuts to be made there.

What of the others?

Big decisions are going to have be taken on a few of those on the fringes of the fold, with more deals needing to be torn up.

Forest have to establish a core of the size suggested by Birtles.

A 23-man squad should be more than enough – with promising youngsters and a mid-season transfer window thrown into the mix.



The likes of Claudio Yacob, Karim Ansarifard, Ben Watson, Daryl Murphy, Ben Osborn, Adlene Guedioura and Luke Steele are all tied to terms until 2020.

As is forgotten man Liam Bridcutt.

How many of those should be sticking around?

Michael Hefele, Tendayi Darikwa and Hillal Soudani have deals to 2021, while Joao Carvalho has another four years left on his contract.

Not everybody will be needed.

Many can be deemed surplus to requirements, with space needed – both in the squad and budget – for new recruits over the summer.

The axe needs to be wielded in ruthless fashion.

Anyone intending to stick around has to be showing that are deserving of retention.

There are just five games left this season in which to stake that case.

With another campaign heading towards a frustrating conclusion, there can be few complaints if another overhaul is taken in prior to 2019-20.

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