Nottingham Forest have picked up since the arrival of Steve Cooper. The Reds have won twice and drawn, picking up seven points from a possible nine.
There is still work to do and the next week or so in training will let the new head coach iron some stuff out.
So far a 3-4-3 has been utilised and it’s paid dividends for Forest. Cooper is a flexible boss though and when it comes to football there is more than one way to skin a cat.
With the international break upon us, we’ve assessed the Forest squad. Not only do the Reds have a sound first eleven, but essentially Cooper has two other teams that he could call upon.
Options galore in Forest squad
The first XI
This is pretty self-explanatory. With every player fit, we think this is likely to be what Cooper considers his first-choice team.
Brice Samba plays in goal, with Tobias Figueiredo, Joe Worrall and Scott McKenna making up a defensive three.
Djed Spence and Max Lowe are the wing-backs.
In midfield, Ryan Yates has started each game and alongside James Garner that looks like a first-choice pairing.
In attack, Lewis Grabban plays up top, with Philip Zinckernagel and Brennan Johnson playing as a pair of number 10s just behind him.
Second XI and a new Forest formation
For the purpose of this piece, we’ve endeavoured not to use the same players twice.
With that in mind, there are some weaknesses in this team; although not many.
Steve Cooper has previously deployed a 4-2-3-1 in his managerial career and we feel the change in shape is better utilised for the second string.
Ethan Horvath is a United States international and starts in goal.
At left-back, Gaetan Bong plays on the basis that he’s the only natural left-sided full-back after Max Lowe.
Rodrigo Ely partners Loic Mbe Soh at centre-back and Mohamed Drager is in at right-back.
Jack Colback partners Braian Ojeda in midfield.
Joao Carvalho comes in at No.10, with Joe Lolley and Alex Mighten flank him on the wings.
Up-front, Lyle Taylor takes the place of Lewis Grabban
Experimental 4-3-3 as per Forest under-23s
The Reds are blessed with some outstanding youngsters, with many of them featuring this season already.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a potential third team with a different 11 players.
Jordan Smith remains at the club and can keep goal.
At right-back, Fin Back has made first-team appearances this season. Jordi Osei-Tutu hasn’t made any of the three sides, although he is currently injured.
At centre-back, Baba Fernandes partners Riley Harbottle after both featured in the Carabao Cup against Bradford.
Jayden Richardson plays at left-back.
Cafu can provide experience in the midfield, highlighting just how far down the pecking order he is at the moment.
Alongside him in midfield are Tyrese Fornah and Oliver Hammond.
Both youngsters have made good starts in Andy Reid’s under-23 ranks this season.
A three-pronged attack sees the in-form Will Swan spearhead the front line.
Ateef Konate and bizarre summer signing Xande Silva could be utilised out wide.