At the time of Steve McClaren’s appointment earlier this summer, Nottingham Forest were priced at 12/1 to win the Championship.
After just three games of the new season, their odds have lengthened to 18/1 with bwin.com, suggesting their chances of promotion are all but over.
However, those at the City Ground who are already calling for the former England boss’ head might just want to hold fire.
Any level-headed football fan would agree that neither a manager’s fate, nor indeed a team’s, can be decided after just a few games. In fact, Forest’s record so far this season betters that of the last two campaigns, both of which resulted in a play-off semi-final.
Last season in particular, Forest suffered a dramatic loss of form, going nine games without a win leading up to the business end of the season. This, as former manager Billy Davies often opined, was arguably due to the squad’s inexperience.
McClaren moved to address this perceived flaw with his first three signings. The arrivals of Jonathan Greening, George Boateng and the returning Andy Reid were followed by weeks of frustration in the transfer market, again reminiscent of the Davies era. However, the recent captures of Matt Derbyshire and Ishmael Miller will please Forest fans no end, with no fewer than four strikers having left the club in the summer.
Of the many departures, only Robert Earnshaw would have been considered a first-team regular, and as big a loss as the Welshman is to the squad, there is no question Forest have strengthened. With Dexter Blackstock still to return from injury, as well as the proven threat from midfield of last season’s top scorer Lewis McGugan, the squad looks to be in place, which is more than can be said for some of their competitors.
Favourites West Ham may have got past their opening-day defeat but still look set to lose one or two key players before the transfer window closes, while hotly-tipped Leicester have already shown marked levels of inconsistency following their dramatic change in personnel over the summer.
Punters who back Nottingham Forest to win the Championship by using their free £25 bet will see a return of £475 if McClaren manages to steer them to a famous and much-needed title triumph.
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