Nottingham Forest are one of four teams in the mix for automatic promotion, says Steve Hodge, but the January transfer window is considered to be “so important”.

The Reds have positioned themselves among the Championship frontrunners.

Through 17 games, with one in hand held on those around them, Sabri Lamouchi’s side have collected 32 points.

That is enough to sit fourth, level with Fulham and only five adrift of second-placed Leeds.

A few minor tweaks, with another striker considered a priority, and the Reds could start to turn dreams of a Premier League return into something more tangible.

That is an opinion shared by Reds legend Steve Hodge, who has told BBC Radio Nottingham: “It will depend on a lot of things. You want to see a big squad, we’ve got a big squad. We have a good goalkeeper – massively important that he stays fit. We have a top striker.

Solid

Original Image: Nottingham Forest/Graphic Design: Beth Davenport

“I mentioned first game of the season I was a bit unhappy about having no backup striker in case he [Lewis Grabban] got injured, so far – touch wood – he hasn’t got injured and has got eight goals. Keep him fit and he’ll get 20 this season. Midfield players have been solid this year. The foreign players have settled down nicely now.

“January is so important. Injuries will take their toll, we’ve had a few recently and managed to cover that nicely, and other teams will do the same.

“We’ve had a problem scoring goals and finishing teams off, drawing a few games that we might have won. Won a few games narrowly, which happened against Fulham, Derby. Where we are now, we’ve got a big squad who are playing well and are happy. The injuries have been covered, we need another striker in case he gets injured at some point this season but we’ve got to be confident in the top six.”

Hodge believes Forest should be setting their sights higher than merely wrapping up a play-off place.

Better

 

For the former midfielder, there is every reason to believe that the Reds can challenge for a top-two standing.

He added: “I’ll say now I think the top two will come from Forest, West Brom, Leeds and Fulham – I think those four are far better in terms of what they have got now and they can all reinforce in January.”

When pressed on the identity of the strikers that Forest may be interested in, Hodge conceded that Jonathan Kodja could be an option.

The Ivory Coast international – who netted 19 times for Brentford in 2015-16 and delivered the same return for Aston Villa the following year – finds himself frozen out at Villa Park, with Hodge saying: “If you’re up there, then players of that ilk will fancy that and think ‘I might get a few goals there’.”

The regular names that do the rounds – such as Dwight Gayle and Britt Assombalonga – have also been thrown into the pot heading towards the winter window.

It remains to be seen who Forest fancy, but there is every reason to believe that shrewd business, coupled with more positive thinking and performances, will deliver the top-two challenge predicted by Hodge.

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