The more things change, the more they stay the same – a rather fitting summary for Nottingham Forest as we sit here in early January 2020.

The last 12 months have been something of a whirlwind.

No change there!

Over the course of the last year, four men have occupied the dugout for the Reds.

From Aitor Karanka to Sabri Lamouchi via a caretaker outing for Simon Ireland a return to the City Ground for Martin O’Neill.

That is pretty par for the course in recent times.

There has also been the customary movement in and out during a couple of transfer windows.

A third has now swung open.

With the promise of more comings and goings over the next few weeks.

The makeup of the squad in the present is markedly different to that of the recent past.

Plenty of familiar faces remain, but there has also been a clearing of the decks.

That was much needed over the summer, and there remains plenty of work to be done on that front.


Original Image: Nottingham Forest/Graphic Design: Beth Davenport

A number of expiring contracts should help to further trim a bloated squad.

For all of the change, though, we find ourselves in very familiar territory.

The perfect marker for progress has presented itself.

When turning the clock back a full calendar year, Karanka was preparing to head for the exits on Trentside.

January 11 saw his tenure come to a close.

The Spaniard walked away on the back of an FA Cup third round defeat away at Chelsea.

Sound familiar?

Next on the agenda for Forest back in 2019 was a trip to Reading.

A serious case of déjà vu!

On this occasion, barring a rather surprising turn of events, the Reds will head to the Madejski Stadium with the same man calling the shots as the one who oversaw a visit to Stamford Bridge.

That in itself should be considered a step in the right direction.



Forest are threatening to break a nine-year tradition.

One where a manager actually sees out a full season at the helm.

Nobody has achieved that feat since the first coming of Billy Davies.

Stability, which has been in painfully short supply at times, is being established and dreams of a return to the Premier League are starting to form once more.

Forest have many of the right pieces in place.

A promising coach, a striker into double figures for the season, a home-grown heart to the side and the promise of more to come from those already at the club and potential transfer targets.

It could be claimed that they were in a similar position 12 months ago.

The reset button was about to be pushed, though, and everything was thrown up into the air.

That is not the case this time around.

Lamouchi’s side head to Reading sat fourth, with a game in hand against the Royals to come, and no uncertainty hanging over them on and off the field.

It is a welcome change of pace.

The schedule may be repeating itself, in an odd quirk of fate, but 2020 looks to be heading in an entirely different direction to the year which preceded it.

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