Blackburn Rovers boss Tony Mowbray offered a stark reminder to Chris Hughton last night of the challenges that face the Nottingham Forest manager.
His Rovers team were organised, determined and well-drilled as they left the City Ground with all three points following a 2-1 victory.
Mowbray has yet to see his team lose this season. A quick glance at the back of last night’s matchday programme lists just 18 players. That number has now increased 19 following the arrival of Leighton Clarkson from Liverpool.
The Rovers team showcased everything that Forest didn’t, however. They were resolute in defence, stuck to their game plan and made the most of their set-pieces.
Afterwards, Mowbray was quizzed on Forest. He claimed that it was alien compared to the sides he had faced in the past during his time with Rovers.
He told The Athletic: “I don’t really recognise this Forest side. This is not the team we saw here last season. This was not a team full of experience; it was a team full of youth.”
Mowbray has a point. Seven of the 18 players in Forest’s squad last night are from the club’s youth academy and identity is lacking.
Having players nurtured by the football club isn’t a bad thing. It does, however, leave the club battling in a tough decision with lots of inexperienced players.
Mowbray is right, inexperience is crucifying Forest at the moment
Nothing against the young lads and in large they have done well. Fin Back was fantastic last night, whilst Brennan Johnson and Alex Mighten look set for bright futures.
It is tough when they lack proper leaders around them, however, Joe Worrall is absent, whilst doubts remain over whether Ryan Yates or Lewis Grabban are genuine leaders.
Forest beat Blackburn 1-0 last season. Hughton on that day largely called upon experience, although lots of those players are no longer with the club.
Following last night’s performance, some Championship know-how is required and the club needs to act quickly.