Every game is important, that goes without saying, but Nottingham Forest are entering a potentially make or break period in the 2019-20 campaign.

The finishing line is not in sight just yet, but the jostle for positions has begun.

Going too early could prove fatal, with momentum unable to be sustained in the final straight.

Sitting off the pace may also lead to an untimely stumble when the sprinting kicks in.

Time management is crucial.

For those at the City Ground, the next few weeks are going to go a long way towards determining in which direction the season as a whole heads.

Sabri Lamouchi’s side are bunched among the frontrunners.

Keeping up with those leading the way may be a tad ambitious.

Gold and silver medals appear to be heading elsewhere.

Bronze is still up for grabs, along with much sought-after places down to sixth.

The Reds intend to fill one of those lofty standings come May.

Indicator

Original Image: Nottingham Forest/Graphic Design: Beth Davenport

There are still 20 outings to take in before either planning for a Premier League return, a shot at the play-offs or another campaign in the second tier.

We are going to get a decent indicator from the next eight outings as to where Forest stand.

Said run will see five home games taken in.

One of those is the much-feted game in hand against Reading that has provided a safety net of sorts for some weeks.

Lamouchi’s men are also readying themselves for meetings with the likes of Brentford, Leeds and West Brom.

Only one of those games will take place at the City Ground – against the Whites on February 8.

A loyal fan base and familiar surroundings do, however, have a crucial role to play.

Former favourite Guy Moussi has admitted as much in the Nottingham Post, saying: “When teams come to the City Ground, you want it to be really hard for them to get any points.

“The form at home is the most important thing, and you’ve got to have the backing of the fans to do that.”

He added: “The players have to be focused, and I believe they are. They know where they are at the moment and they’re not going to let it go easily.

“There are things we need to improve, but we are still up there, so that’s a good sign.”

Encouraging

 

That is the most encouraging thing for Forest – there is room for improvement.

Lamouchi has his side sat fifth without hitting top gear.

Particularly at home.

Victories over Wigan and Blackburn around the turn of the year has hopefully turned the tide.

If it has, then the outlook is positive.

The upcoming outings on Trentside are against Luton, Reading, Leeds, Charlton and QPR.

On paper, plenty of points to be collected there.

Trips out on the road before February 22 will take the Reds to Brentford, Birmingham and West Brom.

Testing, but nothing to fear given Forest’s form on their travels this term.

Come through that sequence relatively unscathed and a serious platform will have been built.

One which can be used to kick off towards the aforementioned finishing post.

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