Written by Harry Martin
Last season was again another one of disappointment for Nottingham Forest, the club riddled with injuries and hit with a transfer embargo, but looking forward to next term I identify three players that could make this season great, for the two-time European champions.
1. Eric Lichaj
The former Villa man was a real positive to come out of last season, putting in some great displays in front of the Forest faithful and definitely needs to be put up there as one of the best full backs in the division. The American has a great balance of being defensively sound as well as providing width going forward. Going into next season Forest know how crucial he will be if they are to challenge and get in and around the top 6. Whoever Forest announce as their next boss will immediately come in and find that Lichaj is a man who will work for the cause and will put his team first. If this man has a big season once again, it will go a long way on deciding where the club finishes.
2. Henri Lansbury
What a fantastic talent Lansbury has been since his arrival back in the Summer of 2012. When signed by Sean O’Driscoll Forest knew they were getting an extremely gifted player shaped and moulded at Arsenal, and instantly the technical ability was there for all to see straight away. Going into his 5th season with the club, Henri has really settled and again become a fan favourite with the way he likes to control games and really grab a game by the scruff of the neck and become that all important match winner every team needs. At the start of last campaign he was playing in a deep role alongside the experienced David Vaughan and whilst he did this job to the best of his ability, it isn’t his favoured position and ultimately he was wasted there. Playing in the hole or even in a 3 man midfield is where he does his best work, supplying a constant stream of goals and assists to those around him as well as possessing a hammer of a shot. If it is going to be a successful season ahead on Trent-side Forest firstly need to hang on to Lansbury and tie him down to a long term deal or risk losing him for nothing this time next year, and secondly get him in these sort of areas where he can go and influence a game and stamp his mark on it. When the new manager comes in, they need to firstly realise that this man is without doubt Forest’s best player and therefore try to build a team around him. If forest can do this, Henri really is amongst the leagues best. Crucial.
3. Britt Assombalonga
Forest were without their main goal threat for over a year after suffering that horrendous injury back in February 2015, but back and raring to go, Forest have a top striker back, and it will feel like a new signing. With 15 goals in 28 appearances in his first season, Assombalonga will feed off the likes of Lansbury, Burke and Osborn just to name a few and is very much the final piece in what at times is great attacking football from Forest. I think the major issue for many fans is that he won’t return to be the player he was, running off the shoulder of his man and offering in behind. Aside from that, I see no reason why the Congo born forward cannot hit double figures in what would play a large part of deciding how the Reds fare over the campaign. If Britt can once again hit the ground running along with other key performers, Forest certainly have the tools to attack the Championship and give it a real go. Exciting times ahead!
Let us know if you agree with these three? Forest fans, who would your key players be?