Nottingham Forest are in uncharted territory under Steve Cooper.

March is now upon us and Forest not only have the 50 points required for safety but Steve Cooper’s men are firmly in the play-off mix.

For context, Forest are now just one point shy of their total from the entire 2020/21 campaign.

Usually, as we approach the final quarter of the season, the Reds are beginning to don their espadrilles and whip out the Amber Solaire ready for their beach holidays in the summer.

Nottingham Forest v Bristol City - Sky Bet Championship
(Photo; Jon Hobley; MI News; NurPhoto; Getty Images)

My Europa League Predictions.

Saturday’s 2-0 win against Bristol City saw the Reds get back to winning ways after back-to-back draws.

With 13 games of the season remaining, there is still a lot of football left to play.

Forest still have to play six of the top eight and as a result, a play-off place is firmly within their own grasp.

Regardless of how the final stages of the season pan out, supporters are feeling far more confident these days.

Part of the reason for the confidence is the fact that Cooper has made Forest really solid defensively.

Under Chris Hughton, the Reds conceded goals far too easily and one goal against typically meant game over.

Now, the landscape has changed drastically.

In 2022, Forest have enjoyed some games against the division’s lesser sides.

Barnsley and Derby were both comfortably despatched on home soil in games that the reds could have won by more.

Clean sheets have come against in-form Millwall, Blackburn, Preston North End and the Tykes.

Saturday’s against Bristol City was the team’s fifth of 2022, with another one coming against Arsenal in the FA Cup.

Steve Cooper deserves huge credit for Forest solidity

Since the start of 2022, Forest have conceded just five goals.

Only Newcastle, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Rotherham have picked the ball out of their net less times.

The Reds have conceded the same amount as Premier League champions Manchester City, Ipswich and Nigel Clough’s Mansfield Town side.

Nottingham Forest v Bristol City - Sky Bet Championship
Photo; Jon Hobley; MI News; NurPhoto; Getty Images)

This is an encouraging statistic that has emerged.

It seems a lifetime ago when Forest were conceding for fun under the pragmatic approach deployed by Hughton.

Now, the Reds have defenders in their ranks that simply love to defend.

Scott McKenna has been superb, Joe Worrall provides the ball-playing capabilities, with new signing Steve Cook offering an intelligent approach.

Cooper did great work with Swansea and his approach to keeping clean sheets could help Forest realise their Premier League ambition.

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