OPINION: Forest survival chances greatly increase with arrival of Mark Warburton
His name is Mark Warburton and his immediate objective is Championship survival.
Nothing more, nothing less, the ex-Brentford boss has the reasonably simple task of ensuring that Nottingham Forest retains their second tier status for the 2017/18 campaign.
Warburton arrived at the City Ground this morning to begin work as the club’s latest manager, knowing that his charges face a daunting looking game against Derby County this weekend, with Forest just two points clear of the Championship relegation zone.
Gary Brazil deserves immense credit for the way in which he conducted himself during his brief tenure as boss.
Both he and Jack Lester did a lot of good during their 11-game stint, but perhaps ultimately the failure to prevent the slide towards the bottom three has seen the call to Warburton go in slightly earlier than originally anticipated.
I have said for a while now that the Reds’ squad is far too good to be languishing down in the doldrums of the Sky Bet Championship and I honestly think that Warburton will be pleasantly surprised when he realises what he has inherited.
Had the club appointed a proven Championship boss in the summer, say Neil Warnock for example, then I am convinced that the Reds would now be floating somewhere around the top half of the table.
Warburton’s experience in that sense could be vital. Okay, so he only boasts one Championship campaign during his time as a manager but in his maiden campaign his newly promoted Brentford outfit finished fifth, representing a pretty good strike rate, if you ask me.
I honestly think that any Forest fan who isn’t happy with this appointment is deluded as to where we are as a football club, or incredibly naive. Make no bones about it; Warburton is the very best option we could have hoped for in our current predicament.
The 54-year-old will need to hit the ground running, there is little doubt about that.
In order to start picking up some positive results he simply needs to get the team back to basics and give the current crop a bit of identity.
For too long now the Reds have operated a square pegs in round holes mentality and it needs to stop if Forest are to get themselves out of trouble.
As I have said before, you wouldn’t ask an electrician to come and fix a leaky tap, so why are we trying to deploy wingers as attacking midfielders just behind the striker?
Forest’s chances of survival have gone up ten-fold on the back of Warburton’s arrival and the beauty of his early arrival is that he will have the chance to see which players he wants to keep for next season, whilst he can also grasp a strong understanding of who will be offloaded during the summer.
Forest’s latest appointment, on the back of Frank McParland’s arrival as director of football, seems to indicate that small steps are being made to implement a structure at the City Ground, something which has been sadly lacking over years of disappointment under the ownership of Fawaz Al Hasawi.
There is a word that sums up what is desperately needed on Trentside right now and that is stability.
The Reds’ chairman would now be wise to sit firmly in the back seat when it comes to first-team affairs and let Warburton try and build something special at the club.
Saturday’s game with the struggling Rams sees Forest go in search of redemption, following a 3-0 loss against their East Midlands counterparts back in December and with both clubs now under new management, the City Ground looks set to be rocking come 1pm this Saturday.
Like or loathe him, Warburton looks a good fit for Nottingham Forest. A manager of his ilk is one not to be growled at when he becomes available and for me, the club has pulled off a coup this time.
Ahead of Saturday’s massive game, Warburton will be well aware that Forest quite like to beat that lot from down the A52 and hopefully his management style can rub off on the players in time for them to produce a good performance at the weekend.
The Forest fans simply needs some TLC right now and hopefully Warburton and his coaching staff can butter the loyal contingent of supporters up sufficiently over the next nine matches, to give them optimism going into next season.
Welcome and good luck at Nottingham Forest, Mark!