Can Aitor Karanka bring the good times back to Nottingham Forest?

Aitor Karanka

It has been a torrid few years for the former European Champions who have dropped down the leagues in recent times and find themselves struggling to get out of the Championship. They have just appointed former Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka to guide the ship but will he be able to achieve the task right way?

Karanka is the 10th manager since the end of Billy Davies’ first spell in charge of the club; June 2011. This is a monumental amount of managers in less than seven years. Admittedly it is always hard to draw the line between standing by a manager and stubbornly trying to make something work, but this is just ridiculous. One reason why Forest have struggled and that is consistency.

Under Mark Warburton, you could see something happening. He was using youngsters such as Kieran Dowell (on loan from Everton), Ben Brereton, Ben Osborn and Joe Worrall to his advantage as they were all performing outstandingly; they were all being linked with big money moves away from the club. However, the word stability jumps to mind again as despite the side being in mid-table and showing signs of a future the new hierarchy had had enough and showed Warburton the door seven months after he took the hot seat. The manager revolving door at The City Ground continued to be used.

However, life goes on, and as a Nottingham Forest fan, you will not be able to dwell on what you have lost because a new one will arrive soon enough. This time it is in terms of a former Real Madrid player. The Spaniard has worked at one of the biggest clubs in the world and alongside one of the most successful managers in the world; Jose Mourinho.

But it is not just who he knows; it is also what he knows. He already has a wealth of experience of the Championship and knows how tough it can be. In his first season in charge of Boro, he suffered the everlasting pain of defeat in the Play-Off final. He did come back rejuvenated to succeed after this and led the charge for his side which resulted in finishing runners-up, but more importantly, it was a return to the top flight after a seven-year exile for the North East club.

However, he does have a fiery side to him which has led to disputes with fans, staff and the board. In March 2016 he left the training ground after a dispute about his future, and he missed the subsequent match against Charlton Athletic. Then in the Premier League, he refused to change his philosophy of defence first as his side could not find the back of the net on a regular basis. This led to him losing his job.

Now he is the Nottingham Forest manager. Forest fans will have been more than impressed with the start he has made after his side beat top of the league Wolverhampton Wanderers two goals to nothing. They thoroughly deserved the win as well, and with the youthful exuberance and with goals coming from the flair man Dowell and the industrious worker Osborn he will be hoping to keep these players together.

He has already stated that if players are unhappy at the club, then they can go singling out a quartet of players who are free to leave the club. Is this a rash decision from Karanka or decisive? You tend to think decisive because he has had success in the past and knew how he wants his players to react.

Next up for Nottingham Forest is an F.A Cup tie with Hull City and given Karanka guided Middlesbrough to the quarterfinals he will be hoping to take his new side as far as they can following their impressive win against Arsenal in the previous round.


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