The dust is now starting to settle on Nottingham Forest’s 2020/21 campaign.
It’s fair to say that it was a season riddled with disappointment and Chris Hughton has plenty of work to do.
With the season now consigned to the past, we looked at five things we learned from the unique campaign.
Forest need firepower
A lack of goals was alarming for the Reds during 2020/21 – and that needs to be Hughton’s first port of call this summer.
Lewis Grabban scored six goals, whilst Lyle Taylor managed five in all competitions.
As a collective though, Forest managed just 37 goals from 46 Championship fixtures, with only Derby scoring fewer.
That simply won’t do and some energy would be welcome in the final third ahead of next season.
Both Grabban and Taylor are perhaps still capable of playing a part in the squad but competition is badly required.
Forest need better players
Hughton still has a squad that resembles a TK Maxx sale, with players stockpiled at an alarming rate on Trentside.
Far too many of the current crop just aren’t good enough and although it is said every year, a clear-out is still required.
An ageing squad is being hampered by injuries and poor performance, and the Reds must target real quality in the summer.
Forest have settled for average too often in recent years and that element of their recruitment has to change.
Blood the youngsters
If 2020/21 has taught Forest supporters anything it’s that letting the younger players shine is the way to go.
Alex Mighten was decent when called upon during the campaign and others made an impact too.
Joe Worrall captained the side on several occasions, whilst Ryan Yates was also frequently called upon by Hughton.
Loic Mbe Soh and Will Swan also made fleeting outings and the talent at the City Ground is there for all to see.
Forest have a proud history with players from the academy and supporters are more likely to forgive the odd mistake from young players over mediocre journeymen.
The time has come to let them shine.
Star man must be kept
Having not tasted top-flight football for 20 years, Forest will, for now, remain a selling club.
It would be nice if for just one more season, however, they could keep hold of Joe Worrall.
The 24-year-old was the deserved winner of the club’s Player of the Year award, despite missing several games with foot and rib injuries.
Worrall has played 137 times for Forest and he’d dearly love to be the player to lead the Reds back into the Premier League.
He really came of age during the last campaign and keeping him would be the best piece of business the club could do this summer.
Forest are getting better at the back
One positive of Hughton’s reign so far is that he has steadied the ship defensively.
Forest only conceded 45 goals during the campaign. For context, Barnsley and Bournemouth who reached the play-offs both conceded more.
With that in mind, if the Reds could add some firepower and add more quality in the final third, progress isn’t a million miles away.
Defensively Forest have become resolute and dogged and Hughton does deserve some praise for making the team harder to beat.
The next challenge is to address the concerns at the other end of the pitch.