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Nottingham Forest transfer verdict and Steve Cooper's season so far - report card

Nottingham Forest find themselves in a tough position during the first international break of the Premier League season.

Four defeats in a row, two of those courtesy of second half capitulations at the City Ground, sees them second-bottom in the table with four points from seven games. Boss Steve Cooper has been left with much to think about during the international break.

The Reds have a lengthy wait until they are back on the pitch, with their crunch clash at rock-bottom Leicester City taking place on Monday, October 3. In the meantime, and with plenty to reflect on, Forest reporter Sarah Clapson gives her verdict on the Reds’ start to the campaign.

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How has the season gone so far?

Back in the Premier League for the first time in more than two decades, it was always going to be tough. And it has been a difficult start, you can’t really shy away from that.

There have been signs of encouragement, and up until the fixtures against Bournemouth and Fulham, things were okay. However, the manner in which Cooper’s side were toppled in those two games put a different slant on the situation going into the international break. Losing four on the spin is never good, but it was the way in which Forest threw away points at home - against opponents they’d want to take something from - that was a particular worry.

Having looked lost in the opening game at Newcastle United, it had seemed as though the Reds were steadily finding their feet with the win over West Ham and draw at Everton (which could/should have been another victory). The performance against Tottenham Hotspur suggested this squad had enough about it to hold their own, but those kinds of levels haven’t been reached again since.

Few would have expected to come away with anything from Manchester City - they were on a completely different planet, and will be to the vast majority of teams in the top-flight. Two home games against fellow promoted sides seemed like a good opportunity to bounce back.

That it didn’t pan out that way leaves Cooper needing to quickly stop the rot when Forest head to the King Power Stadium.

Still, it shouldn’t all be doom and gloom. There are reasons for optimism, and the challenges which come with such an influx of new signings should also be taken into account. The Reds certainly have plenty to work on and areas where they must improve, though.

Verdict on the new signings?

We haven’t seen the best of many of them yet, and it’s clear this group is still trying to gel and get used to each other. But the club appear to have done some good business.

A positive is that Forest now have strength in depth; they have options across the pitch. The flip side to that is it will take time for Cooper to figure out his best team - something he has spoken very candidly about.

Goalkeeper Dean Henderson and midfielder Lewis O’Brien have been the standouts among the new additions. The pair have been the Reds’ best performers so far.

Morgan Gibbs-White has also looked bright and dangerous at times. In his case, as with the other attacking players, Cooper has to find the right system and combinations to suit them.

Orel Mangala and Moussa Niakhate made excellent first impressions, and have been missed while they have been out injured. And the likes of Neco Williams, Remo Freuler, Renan Lodi and Cheikhou Kouyate have had their moments.

There are others who either haven’t played yet or who haven’t seen much game time. Serge Aurier, Loic Bade, Omar Richards, Giulian Biancone, for instance.

It’s difficult to give an overall verdict just yet, especially as this is still a team trying to come together. The potential is there, though.

How has the head coach performed?

In many ways, Cooper has a thankless task. Trying to integrate so many new signings would be difficult for any manager; let alone one who is also still getting to grips with the top-flight himself.

Instilling a sense of unity and getting the best out of players has always been one of his strengths. I don’t think there’s any doubt that he needs time for that to happen in this situation, however. A number of players joining late on in the window hasn’t helped on that front.

Nevertheless, it’s fair to question some of his selection decisions and tactics in the last two games in particular. He’ll have been the first to look at what he could have done differently.

One year on from his appointment, he hasn’t been used to these sort of tough times at the City Ground. But he has shown he can mould a team and unite the club before. He has earned time and patience.

What have you made of Forest's season so far? Have your say in the comments below

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