Taiwo Awoniyi

'It Feels Like A Massive Game'

Matt Davies, from Nottinghamshire Live, has pointed to both promising and alarming signs from Nottingham Forest's first seven games back in the Premier League.
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- Nottingham Forest visit King Power Stadium to tackle Leicester City on Monday (8pm kick-off)
- Matt Davies, from Nottinghamshire Live, has previewed that East Midlands clash
- He believes Forest have quality in their squad but need time to gel
- Steve Cooper welcomed 22 new signings at the City Ground after winning promotion

A largely reconstructed Forest squad, under the management of Steve Cooper, have won one of their opening seven fixtures after 23 years away from the Premier League. Successive 3-2 home reverses to AFC Bournemouth and Fulham – the other promoted sides – have set alarm bells ringing too, believes Davies.

They face Leicester City at King Power Stadium on Monday evening (8pm kick-off).

Speaking to LCFC TV last week, Davies said: "Certainly, Forest started the season pretty tidily, and it looked like there were promising signs, but now it’s four defeats in a row and consecutive home defeats against teams they came up with having blown a half-time lead when they looked fairly comfortable.

"There’s been some alarming signs and it feels like a massive game and a chance for both teams to try and get their seasons going again. There’s been good stuff from Forest and there’s been times when you’ve thought it’s going to be a really promising season.

"I think back to West Ham (1-0 W) at home and Spurs at home (0-2 L) and Everton away (1-1 D). They looked good and they were solid. Obviously, Man City was tough, losing 6-0, but that’s difficult for anyone to go there.

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Steve Cooper
Steve Cooper

Steve Cooper has transformed Forest but another huge challenge awaits him this season.

"The last two games have been concerning in terms of the naivety they’ve shown defensively and the goals they’ve let in in quick succession.

"It feels inevitable, having signed 22 players, that there isn’t that collective experience of being in the trenches together when the chips are down, and we’ve seen that in the last two matches. It’s a bit of cliché but the first goal feels massive and how Forest will respond to any form of adversity because I think Forest fans will appreciate the quality of player Leicester still have even though they have struggles of their own."

Forest made headlines this summer when they welcomed 22 new faces through the doors at the City Ground. Davies felt it necessary to explain the context of that summer spending spree, while also highlighting some of the players which may cause Leicester problems on Monday.

"There’s certainly some misconceptions around the signings, in terms of the volume of them," he added. "Coming out of Wembley, that team lost five loan players, the goalkeeper (Brice Samba) left, the captain Lewis Grabban left… the core of the team was ripped out.

They do need some results quickly but obviously we could say the same about Leicester. When you’re at the bottom of the league, you need start picking up some points now.

Matt Davies Nottinghamshire Live

"The squad which came up, without any of the signings, was pretty much six or seven players and the youth team. There needed to be a major reconstruction.

"Everyone expected double figures of signings, but nobody will have expected 22. We can’t say they did and some of the signings you feel might be a step too far, but there certainly needed to be an overhaul.

"I don’t think Forest fans expected the quality of players on paper that have come in. There was a lot of fanfare around Jesse Lingard. Emmanuel Dennis has a good season last year. Remo Freuler isn’t someone who’s particularly well known on these shores, but he’s done really well at Atalanta.

"There’s a lot of good players on paper, it’s just gelling them as a team, and I think it's inevitable that we’ve had these growing pains.

"They will probably continue and you just hope, from a Forest point of view, that they get enough results to stick with the current manager and not make an ambitious owner a bit twitchy and make a change. I think Forest fans would be really disappointed if Steve Cooper were to depart.

"They do need some results quickly but obviously we could say the same about Leicester. When you’re at the bottom of the league, you need start picking up some points now."

All times BST.

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