Welcome to my end of season post following my footsteps with The Garibaldi Reds. My last post took us up until the end of January were we lay in 3rd position all set up for a promotion push. Well the talk in Nottingham as been of a consortium taking over the club which seems to be dragging on and on, first its on and then its off. The club are now in talks with a second consortium and to be honest I have not got a clue what will happen so I have just got on with attempting to keep the players focused on getting the club in to the Premier League as soon as possible. At the end of December I introduced a new system to the club and by the end of January the squad had responded by winning every game in the systems first month, but could we continue?
Another undefeated month took us in to the 2nd promotion place with it kicking off with a 1-0 home win against Aston Villa thanks to a Chris Cohen goal. We then had Ben Osborn to thank for a 93rd minute equaliser at Carrow Road against a rejuvenated Norwich City. Next up was a fantastic 3-0 win against promotion chasing Fulham with goals from Assombalonga, Pinillos and Carayol. Two goalless draws against Reading (FA Cup) and Sheffield Wednesday at the City Ground. An away trip to struggling Wigan produced a 2-0 win with Vellios and another late Osborn strike ment we finished the month 3 points in front of 3rd placed Fulham. We ended the month with the FA Cup replay against Reading and needed an extra time Pinillos goal to set up a quarter final tie up at White Hart Lane against Tottenham. There is now an added belief around the squad that we are serious contenders for promotion.
A well earned point at home to Brighton started the month off with both sides failing to hit the target in a 0-0 draw. Brentford were the visitors to the City Ground next were we secured all 3 points with a 3-1 win thanks to Vellios, Lansbury and Assombalonga. FA Cup Quarter Final day ended up with us losing 1-4 to Tottenham after a spirited display in a game were we had two goals disallowed and hit the post, Tottenham’s class shone through in the end with Vellios getting our only goal. The East Midlands Derby next were we snatched a dramatic injury time winner courtesy of Britt Assombalonga that sent the Forest crowd home happy with a 1-0 win. We ended the month with a poor display in a 1-1 draw at Burton Albion thanks to a Henri Lansbury strike. We remain a slender 2 points ahead of Fulham with 8 games to play. We are 14 games undefeated in the League since playing with the new system.
April & May 2017
We got off to a cracking start to the month with a 4-0 demolition of Preston with our goals coming via Lansbury, Lichaj, Assombalonga and a gifted own goal. A 3-1 win at Wolves followed with Wolves manager Walter Zenga having a dig at us in the press for being physical, I am not concerned and was delighted with our 3 goals which came courtesy of Cohen, Assombalonga and Osborn. We are firing on all cylinders and continue with another 3 points with a 4-1 win at home to David Wagners high flying Huddersfield Town, a superb hat-trick from Assombalonga was supported by a Vellios strike. Both Vellios and Assombalonga were on the scoresheet in a 2-2 draw against Blackburn Rovers. Cardiff City away next and a good 3-1 win with the in form Assombalonga netting a brace with his strike partner Vellios getting the other goal. With three games left we were on the verge of promotion however we failed to win our next two games with both ending in draws, 0-0 against Reading and 1-1 against QPR with Assombalonga scoring again. So we went in to the last game of the season two points ahead of Fulham in 3rd place knowing that a draw against Ipswich at the City Ground would take us in to the Premier League. So on the eve of the game I called a team meeting and told the boys that they their performance’s have put us on the brink of taking the club back to the top level of English football and they should go out and complete the job. The Ipswich game turned out to be the Britt Assombalonga show with the Championships leading goalscorer netting an hat-trick along with a Kasami goal in a 4-1 win that secured Promotion to the Premier League by 4 points ahead of Fulham. We are undefeated in our last 22 League games.
Final Table (Promoted)
This happened right at the end of the season which was not ideal because the embargo stopped me from signing one of my targets for next season has he went out on loan to another club.
What a season we have had with no transfers incoming we utilised the squad throughout the season. Now the hard work begins because I feel we need to strengthen the squad to be competitive in the Premier League. The board enforced a transfer embargo due to the uncertainty of the proposed takeover of the club by a consortium which has now collapsed. The current board have made an initial £90m available for transfers which I am now cracking on with after missing a few weeks of activity due to the embargo being put in place. I am looking at moving a few players on has I build for the season ahead. Thanks for reading I will have a pre season post out later this week which hopefully I will be able to introduce a few new faces in to the club.