Why Nottingham Forest boss Sabri Lamouchi is the right man for the job in promotion push

The Reds will look to bounce back from their midweek setback when they take on West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns

Steve Chettle on Nottingham Forest's promotion hopes

Saturday, August 3. Nottingham Forest 1 West Bromwich Albion 2.

The first day of the Championship season and already some fans were starting to ask questions of the new Reds manager.

Few knew who he was or what to expect when he had been appointed a little over a month earlier. ‘Sabri who?’

And no doubt that opening game did little to temper any doubts.

With trips to Leeds United, Fulham and Swansea City on the horizon in the first few weeks, supporters could perhaps be forgiven for thinking this was going to be a rough ride.

Would Forest be able to come back from defeat to the Baggies and establish a foothold in the campaign? Many were not so sure.

Fast forward six months and not only did the Reds quickly get on track - following that Albion loss with a draw at Leeds and wins over the Cottagers and the Swans - they are firmly in the promotion mix.

Sabri Lamouchi very much looks like the right man for the job. And exactly the type of manager you’d want at the helm heading into what he calls “the money time”.

Forest players react to going behind against Charlton(Image: Dan Westwell)

Plenty of people probably didn’t expect Forest to respond in quite the way they did to that opening day setback.

Now they have to mount a response again, in the reverse fixture at The Hawthorns.

Tuesday night’s flop of an evening against Charlton Athletic at the City Ground was a bitter blow, no doubt about that. But Lamouchi’s men won’t be the only ones to falter on the odd occasion between now and May.

And the manager isn’t afraid to admit when he gets it wrong. He held his hands up over his team selection against the Addicks.

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Tomorrow’s clash against West Brom will undoubtedly be tough and a significant improvement on the midweek performance will be needed.

Under Lamouchi, though, the Reds are certainly capable of getting something from it.

After two losses in three games, they are facing a big run of fixtures. Nothing is yet guaranteed - particularly given the nature of this division and how congested the table is.

But the opportunity is there. And it’s a huge one.

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Lamouchi has frequently talked of finishing the season with no regrets; of expending every last ounce of energy.

In the Frenchman, Forest have a head coach who is calm, assured and clearly devoted to his players. His man management and the team spirit generated have been superb.

There’s no getting too high or too low; just a single-minded focus on each game. In a pressure-cooker environment, that can go a long way.

He’ll have learnt some lessons on Tuesday night. The Championship can be unforgiving like that.

But a top six finish is still there for the taking.

The Reds have come a long way since that afternoon back in August and made great strides. Their next steps, though, could be the biggest.