Meet the opposition: Nottingham Forest

27th March 2019
First team

As Swansea City gear up for the return to Championship action against Nottingham Forest on Saturday (3pm), we take a closer look at the men from the City Ground.

What’s their story?

Nottingham Forest are currently contesting their 11th successive season in the Championship.

The club has a rich history, winning the First Division title in 1977-78 under manager Brian Clough, who also led Forest to memorable European Cup triumphs in successive seasons.

The club has not featured in the Premier League since relegation in 1999 and have spent all bar three of the intervening series in the second tier.

The closest they have come to a top-flight return was in 2011, falling just short as the Swans beat them in the Championship play-offs. Their best finish since was eighth in 2013.

They have a stacked trophy cabinet, with four League Cups and two FA Cups to their name in addition to those famous league and European triumphs.

How’s their form?

Stop and start. Two wins, two losses and a draw in their five games before the international break sees them sat in mid-table as the final run-in arrives.

Despite promising signs in the early stages of the campaign, Forest struggled to keep their strong run of form going after starting the season unbeaten in seven games in all competitions with the club eventually deciding to replace Aitor Karanka as manager.

They have not been able to find any great consistency, but they are just three points off the play-offs and well-placed to launch a late push for the top six if they can string results together.

Who’s the boss?

Martin O’Neill. The Northern Irishman took charge of Forest in January after the club had announced the departure of Karanka.

A former stand-out player for Forest, O’Neill was part of the squad that lifted successive European Cups under Clough, before finishing his playing career at Fulham in 1985 after spells at Norwich, Manchester City, Notts County and Chesterfield.

The Reds boss also made 64 appearances for his national side over a 13- year stretch, scoring eight goals along the way for Northern Ireland.

As a manager O’Neill has won numerous honours, leading Celtic to three Scottish Premier League titles and a UEFA Cup final, after enjoying two League Cup victories whilst at Leicester.

He he also had stints in charge of Wycombe, Norwich, Aston Villa, Sunderland and the Republic of Ireland, leading the latter to Euro 2016.

Who are the key men?

Lewis Grabban leads the line for Forest and has racked up plenty of goals this season, notching 15 strikes in the Championship along with three assists to his name.

After a summer overhaul of players there is plenty of Premier League experience within the squad, with the likes of Ben Watson, Claudio Yacob and Michael Dawson all plying their trade at the East Midlands club.

Homegrown product Matty Cash has been a consistent contributor for Forest this season, as the midfielder chipped in with eight goals, while winger Joe Lolley has been among the division's most impressive performers with nine goals and nine assists.

Costel Pantilimon also provides top-flight know-how and has managed 13 clean sheets for Forest so far this season and is proving to be tough to beat between the sticks.