What’s next for Nottingham Forest?

Karanka has gone. Trackback five months and the anticipation had never been higher ahead of the new season. With investments reaching £25m and record season card sales, there was finally a buzz around the City Ground once again, many believing the former Real Madrid centre-back had what it takes to take The Reds back to the promised land.

But one win in his last five games had driven Forest out of the playoffs and put Karanka’s head in sight of Marinakis’ axe. Not even a 4-2 win at home to Leeds could save him, despite Forest showing they could still compete with the top six sides. A loss in the FA Cup to Chelsea capped off what felt like a perhaps premature spell in the East Midlands for Aitor Karanka. But what’s next?

The fans weren’t happy with the sacking. Far from it. Just four points outside the playoffs with an extremely likeable character at the helm, a stark contrast from this time last year when they were well and truly tussling with relegation.

Who Replaces Him?

Simon Ireland and Michael Dawson take charge of The Reds on Saturday but Marinakis must already have his eyes set on someone big considering the risk posed by sacking a club favourite. We take a look at who could succeed Karanka…

Leandro Jardim

What a replacement this would be. Unemployed since being relieved from the Monaco job, Jardim spent four years in Southern France. Incredibly talented at implementing a mixture of youth and experience, Jardim could finally be the man to exercise the incredible talent Forest possess in João Carvalho, Gil Dias and Diogo Gonçalves. The trio haven’t ‘flopped’ but have been far from the superb standards originally set when they arrived in the summer.

Slaviša Jokanović

The favourite. Odds are being slashed as I type. One thing you’ll get with Slaviša is entertaining, ‘on the ground’ football, something Karanka couldn’t always offer. He may have fallen away with Fulham once they got to the top flight but there’s no doubting his talent as a manager.

As we get into the second half of the season, Jokanovič COULD be the man to project Forest right up the table, similar to what he did with his former side when they went twenty-three games unbeaten to reach the play offs.

I think that Aitor Karanka has been hard done by. The official story is of course that he ‘requested’ to leave the club, but Forest fans know that’s not how it works, especially with Evangelos Marinakis.

All they can hope for is a man that can take them back up, or to the playoffs at least. Jardim is a project builder and Jokanović can guarantee results, it’s about how much patience both Marinakis and the board have…


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