Nottingham Forest’s 2017/18 season
League Position: 17th
Average league attendance: 24,680
Top league goal-scorer: Kieran Dowell (9)
Nottingham Forest, once upon a time European Champions, now have a crisis on their hands. Dropping further down the second tier, struggling to build a team capable of picking up more than 15 wins - the last time that happened was 16 in 2013/14, before that 17 in 2012/13.
Aitor Karanka took over last season and the squad looked a lot tougher when Brentford came to town in April. After hitting the woodwork numerous times, they were unlucky to see Henrik Dalsgaard win it late on for The Bees. The fight, determination and passion in the players was new, different, and giving him a summer of his own signings could mean big things for Forest.
The City Ground
Miles from Brentford: 131
Address: West Bridgford, Nottingham, NG2 5FJ
After three years as assistant manager to Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid, Aitor Karanka was appointed manager of Middlesbrough in November 2013. He was the first non-British man in charge at The Riverside in their history.
He earned promotion with them in 2016 but he was sacked less than a year later with The Teesiders three points from safety and without a win in three months. After nine months out of the game he was appointed Forest manager in early January.
The 42-year-old played as a defender for Athletic Bilbao, Real Madrid and Colorado Rapids before pursuing a career in management. Capped once by Spain, he also represented his country at youth level alongside the likes of Fernando Morientes and Raúl.
The Key Man
Ben Osborn is an England youth international and has already made over 170 appearances for Forest. The 23-year-old has a key part to play in any success Forest have next season.
He played in all 46 Sky Bet Championship games last season, scoring four times, and played in five cup matches across the FA Cup and Carabao Cup. Osborn was far ahead in the apps chart, getting eight more league matches than runner-up Kieran Dowell - the Everton loanee who scored the most Forest goals, meaning no Red made it into double figures for the last campaign.
Osborn staying fit, and smart additions around him in midfield, will surely have a huge impact on Karanka's season in 2018/19. The Spanish manager has a track record for packing teams with young talent and fans would like to think Osborn can play a role in next season's rebuild.
Head to Head
Brentford wins: 11
Forest wins: 10
2018/19 Odds with Leo Vegas Sport UK*
Championship Winners: 20/1
*Odds correct at time of writing.
Get ready for our upcoming campaign by supporting The Bees as a 2018/19 Season Ticket Holder. Secure your place online now.