The return of Billy Davies in the final third of 2012/13 came replete with a healthy dollop of good vibes for Nottingham Forest and the Scot should be holding enough of the folding stuff to build a competitive squad ahead of the new campaign.
Davies has shown just how good a manager he is at this level in the past when guiding Robin Hood’s team of choice to the play-offs in successive seasons during the two full campaigns of his first tenure in Nottingham.
Forest – 7/2 for promotion – failed to grasp the nettle on both occasions, but the Scot has previous when it comes to play-off success, having guided Derby to the top flight via the end-of-term test of nerve in 2006/07.
His effect upon his current employers when returning in late February was seemingly immediate – with six consecutive wins getting off to an ideal start – and although his charges faltered subsequently, it offered a timely reminder of Davies’ ability to galvanise a squad.
2013/14 offers a chance to see what the Scot can do having had an entire pre-season to entrance his men with the Davies dogma and some shrewd signings have upped the quality of his squad.
Jamie Mackie was criminally underused at QPR last season and in Djamel Abdoun – signed from Olympiakos – they welcome a goal-scoring winger with 13 games of Champions League experience.
Forest’s owners – the Al Hasawi family – have reasonably deep pockets and whilst in attack they already look to have some exciting options, improvements in defence are needed before the club can be taken seriously as title contenders.
Signing 2012/13 loanee Gonzalo Jara permanently and adding Eric Lichaj – the man who allegedly begged Danny Shittu not to score in a Millwall v Villa cup tie – hardly inspire unflinching confidence that they can erode the total of 59 goals conceded last season.
However, the signing of Jack Hobbs from Hull City is more encouraging and with attempts to lure City Ground favourites Wes Morgan and Kelvin Wilson back to the East Midlands on-going, the vista for 2013/14 looks full of promise for fans of the Tricky Trees who are 11/1 to win the Championship.