Our guest columnist looks at the Nottingham Forest manager situation
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.
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.
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