Yes. It is October. Perhaps a little early to be asking the question.
However, scan social media and the replies to the Reds’ Twitter account after their win over Brentford on October 5, and you can’t help but feel a tangible excitement among Nottingham Forest supporters.
Their side sits joint-top of the second tier after 11 games at time of writing, having averaged 2 points a game. Extrapolated over the entire Championship season, this would see them finish on 92 points, a total which would have placed you second after 46 games in the last two seasons and third in 2016/17.
Forest are on the best form in the division at present; only a 1-1 draw at Ewood Park against Blackburn Rovers denied them a clean sweep from their last five games. They face Wigan at the DW Stadium after the international break, with the Latics sitting 19th.
The Nottingham Post revealed SkyBet’s picks for promotion and relegation from the Championship on October 10. The bookies have Forest at 16/1 to win the title, and 9/2 for promotion, either automatic or via the playoffs. Perhaps even more encouragingly, the Reds are 6/5 to finish in a playoff position come the end of the term.
“I am so impressed because it has been an amazing month, but the game today was just unbelievable.”Sabri Lamouchi, Nottingham Forest head coach post-Brentford
Forest currently have an average home attendance of 27, 784, second behind Leeds United. This will no doubt have been buoyed by a gate of 27,596 at the City Ground for their 1-0 win over Brentford; midfield lynchpin and Man of the Match Ben Watson scored the winner for the second time in three games, both coming in the 56th minute.
Winger-turned-right-back Matty Cash has sung the praises of the club’s head coach Sabri Lamouchi, appointed just minutes after Martin O’Neill left the club on June 28.
“He’s really intense,” Cash told the Nottingham Post. “It’s all about quality. You have to have standards to play under him.”
Lamouchi himself hasn’t been shy to compliment his players’ efforts after their promising start to the season. Speaking after the Brentford win, he said:
“I am so impressed because it has been an amazing month, but the game today was just unbelievable… I like this kind of game because everyone played for the team. They gave their best and created a lot.”
He may, however, have something of a selection headache over the international break. Michael Dawson sustained an injury in the Reds’ win at Stoke City which took them top of the Championship for an evening. Tobias Figueiredo replaced him at the bet365 Stadium, while Chema Rodriguez put in a stellar performance against Brentford and also made a strong case for staying in the XI.
Joe Worrall’s place appears to be safe for the time being; the Forest academy graduate appears to have benefited from first-team football in his spell at Ibrox last season. There is also some uncertainty over whether Jack Robinson or Yuri Ribeiro is likely to cement their name on the team sheet at left-back going forward.
Forest have shown a lot of the right signs in the early stages of the season, and the club’s coffers will have been boosted by the sale of Arvin Appiah to Almeria in the Segunda Division for £8m in the summer. The club’s promotion charge may have faltered last season, but for now, the Reds must not be overlooked.