Nottingham Forest end their 2018/19 Championship campaign against Bolton Wanderers this weekend.
The Reds have the opportunity to finish as high as ninth, if other results go their way. Although Martin O’Neill was unable to lead the Reds into the play-offs, there are still a number of positives to take from this season.
These two sides actually met each other on the last day of the 2017/18 Championship season as well. The Trotters secured a dramatic late 3-2 win, which ensured they avoided relegation to League One.
It’s fair to say that a lot has changed at both clubs since then. Only a handful of players from Aitor Karanka’s starting line-up are likely to feature for the Reds at the weekend.
Ahead of this weekend’s game, Seat Pitch take a look back at the starting line-up from a year ago, in a season which ended in disappointing fashion.
Goalkeeper and back four
Stefanos Kapino was the man between the sticks in this game. This was just his fourth appearance for the Reds, but also his final one. He went on to join Bundesliga side Werder Bremen a few months later.
Tendayi Darikwa and Ben Osborn occupied the right-back and left-back spots respectively.
Jack Hobbs made his final appearance for the Reds in this match, before joining the Trotters in the summer. He featured in the heart of defence alongside Danny Fox. The pair made a combined total of 190 appearances for the club.
It’s fair to say that they weren’t at their best in this particular fixture.
Liam Bridcutt was given a chance to continue his run in the starting line-up. He featured heavily towards the end of the 2017/18 campaign, but was barely given a chance by Karanka at the start of this season.
He featured alongside Newcastle United loanee Jack Colback. The 29-year-old scored his first goal for the Reds with a well-struck volley.
Ben Watson played the furthest forward out of the central midfielders picked. He was given the captain’s armband by Karanka. He’s struggled to retain a place in O’Neill’s starting line-up of late.
Joe Lolley started on the right-hand side. He is the only player from this starting line-up who is almost guaranteed to still be in the side at the weekend. At this point, no-one envisaged that he’d be capable of achieving what he has this season.
There’s no doubt that Lee Tomlin was a popular figure during his time on loan with the Reds, and he started on the left-hand side in this game. He scored four goals in 14 appearances during his loan spell from Cardiff City.
Ben Brereton was the figurehead of the Reds’ attack in this game. In many ways, this may have been the game which ended his career at the City Ground. He missed a number of clear-cut chances in the first half, and ultimately barely featured under Karanka again.
Considering his form since joining Blackburn, it’s proved to be the correct decision to let him go.