The first thing that comes to mind is for me to look at the makeup of the squad, along with the staff.
The scouting department is somewhat lacking, with only a Director of Football, Chief Scout and two scouts. This needs to change, and the two scouts are disposed of in order to completely reimagine the scouting, to fit with the DNA discussed in the last post.
Also departing, are the Goalkeeping coach, Seamus McDonagh, and Assistant Manager, Roy Keane. This may seem somewhat controversial, but, I feel that Keanes apparent lack of tactical knowledge, and his tendency not to use youth players, makes him a poor fit for the DNA. As for McDonagh, he is a fantastic coach, but, doesn’t have the man management skills or the skills where working with younger players.
A cursory look through the squad highlights several loan players in the Under 23s and First Team squads.
The two in the Under 23 squad, Kostas Panagou and Kostas Megaritis, are on loan from partner club Olympiakos (owned in reality, by Forest owner, Evangelos Marinakis), and will probably not trouble the first team.
In the first team squad, can be found 7 loan players, of which, two are right sided full backs.
Also within the squad, it is apparent that there is an overwhelming amount of defensive minded midfielders, of which, only 1 (youngster, Ryan Yates), is classed as home grown at Forest, it is obvious that in order to make space within the side, some of these players will need to be moved on.
The glaringly obvious area in which we are missing someone, is left back. Jack Robinson, who joined from QPR in the summer, is the only natural full back, with midfielders Ben Osborn and Jack Colback able to play there. The nearest natural LB in the setup is Danny Preston, who is in the U23s, and at 17 years old, is a player that we will look to develop to fill that role in the coming seasons.
Across the back, there are numerous centre backs, with the standouts being Michael Dawson, Tobias Figueiredo and Alex Milosevic. Again, there are a large number of centre backs, and these need to be looked at in order to prioritise the future.
Attacking wise, there are several attacking minded midfield players, the standouts being Joe Lolley and Joao Carvalho, the Portuguese being the clubs record signing. The lack of an efficient ‘water carrying’ midfielder in the centre is apparent, although, there are players within the squad who can be earmarked to fill this with a bit of training work.
Leading the line will be one of Lewis Grabban, Hilal Soudani or Karim Ansarifard. There is a loanee in the area, with Leo Bonatini from Wolves being there, but, he doesn’t fit the criteria I want to use.
Lastly, in goal, Costel Pantilimon will go up against Luke Steele for the starting spot. This is something that will definitely change in coming seasons, as Jordan Smith (on loan at Mansfield), and U19s George Shelvey and Nykah Liburd-Hines will be pushing them in the future.
At this point in time, the weak area of the squad is the left back area, which means that for the first part of the season, at least, a 3-4-3 formation may be the way forward.