DAVID CON­NOLLY

Our guest colum­nist looks at the Not­ting­ham For­est man­ager sit­u­a­tion

The Football League Paper - - NEWS -

NOT­TING­HAM For­est are look­ing for their 11th man­ager since 2011af­ter Ai­tor Karanka ‘asked to be re­leased from his con­tract’.

I have al­ways had a soft spot for For­est and nearly signed for them after meet­ing the late Nigel Doughty in his of­fices in Lon­don.

Doughty had ploughed around £100m into the club with scant re­turn and found suc­cess in foot­ball was much harder to come by than in his busi­ness world.

A suc­ces­sion of own­ers and man­agers since have failed to find the right for­mula, al­though with their cur­rent squad and league po­si­tion, they aren’t far off.

Strange

Pre-week­end, For­est sat sev­enth, nicely po­si­tioned for a tilt at the play-offs, so the Spaniard’s de­par­ture is strange, al­though not such a sur­prise if you look at how they have played this sea­son.

I was at The Den just after Christ­mas when For­est lost 1-0 to Mill­wall. I could see why they have drawn as many games as other sides closer to the bot­tom as, for all their play, they lacked pen­e­tra­tion.

They en­joyed 65 per cent pos­ses­sion but only had nine shots and five cor­ners com­pared to Mill­wall who had 12 shots and ten cor­ners from only 35 per cent of the ball.

De­spite the score­line, the For­est fans were in full force chant­ing for Karanka to stay, which in­di­cated the ru­mours of his de­par­ture were al­ready gath­er­ing pace.

The team’s per­for­mance, how­ever, didn’t help. Too of­ten they played safe and side­ways in Karanka’s pre­ferred 4-2-3-1, with their tal­ented num­ber ten, Joao Car­valho, rarely found in the pocket be­hind lone for­ward Daryl Mur­phy.

Both For­est wingers looked to come in­side onto their stron- ger foot, which suited Mill­wall in their 4-4-2. The Li­ons were happy to force them in­side into con­gested cen­tral ar­eas.

De­spite this de­feat, they bounced back to win against Leeds, no doubt helped by a man ad­van­tage for 50 min­utes, and, de­spite their plucky per­for­mance against Chelsea in the FA Cup, it seems the part­ing suits both par­ties.

Slav­isa Jokanovic ap­pears the early favourite and no doubt his at­trac­tive style of play would be high on the wish-list of the For­est hi­er­ar­chy. Sit­ting at The Den in front of me was Johnny Met­god, who is now on the board at For­est and who was a coach at my for­mer club Feyeno­ord. I had a chat with him at half-time and have a feel­ing his in­put on the next man­ager will be sig­nif­i­cant, with some­one who plays at­tack­ing, at­trac­tive foot­ball a high pri­or­ity.

PIC­TURES: PA Images

LAST HUR­RAH: Not­ting­ham For­est’s Daryl Mur­phy bursts away from Chelsea’s David Luiz in last week­end’s FA Cup tie, which turned out to be the last match in charge for boss Ai­tor Karanka, below

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