Odds shown as:
Fri 29 Jul20:00
HUD
v
BRN
Odds & Stats
Sat 30 Jul15:00
BBR
v
QPR
Odds & Stats
Sat 30 Jul15:00
WIG
v
PNE
Odds & Stats
Sat 30 Jul15:00
ROT
v
SWA
Odds & Stats
Sat 30 Jul15:00
MIL
v
STO
Odds & Stats
Sat 30 Jul15:00
LUT
v
BIR
Odds & Stats
Sat 30 Jul15:00
HUL
v
BRC
Odds & Stats
Sat 30 Jul15:00
CAR
v
NOR
Odds & Stats
Sat 30 Jul15:00
BLA
v
REA
Odds & Stats
Sat 30 Jul17:30
MID
v
WBA
Odds & Stats
Sun 31 Jul12:00
SUN
v
COV
Odds & Stats
Mon 1 Aug20:00
WAT
v
SHU
Odds & Stats
Sat 6 Aug12:30
NOR
v
WIG
Odds & Stats
Sat 6 Aug15:00
BIR
v
HUD
Odds & Stats
Sat 6 Aug15:00
SWA
v
BBR
Odds & Stats
Sat 6 Aug15:00
STO
v
BLA
Odds & Stats
Sat 6 Aug15:00
SHU
v
MIL
Odds & Stats
Sat 6 Aug15:00
REA
v
CAR
Odds & Stats
Sat 6 Aug15:00
QPR
v
MID
Odds & Stats
Sat 6 Aug15:00
PNE
v
HUL
Odds & Stats
Sat 6 Aug15:00
BRN
v
LUT
Odds & Stats
Sat 6 Aug15:00
BRC
v
SUN
Odds & Stats
Sun 7 Aug15:00
COV
v
ROT
Odds & Stats
Mon 8 Aug20:00
WBA
v
WAT
Odds & Stats
Sat 13 Aug15:00
WIG
v
BRC
Odds & Stats

What has gone wrong for Chris Hughton at Nottingham Forest?

Is the clock ticking on Chris Hughton's Nottingham Forest tenure?
Is the clock ticking on Chris Hughton's Nottingham Forest tenure?

In the previous two campaigns, Nottingham Forest’s season – at least in terms of challenging towards the top – has been over before it has truly begun.

After a late capitulation in 2019/20 saw them miss out on the Play-Offs under Sabri Lamouchi, the Reds lost their first four games of the following term.

Half that squad was still burdened by the overwhelming sense of shock from July, while the other half were adjusting to English football having signed with a short turnaround to the opener.

Defeat to Bristol City in 2020/21 saw Lamouchi lose his job and while replacement Chris Hughton did the one required of him, keeping the East Midlanders up comfortably, the two-time Championship promotion winner has been unable to continue the progress.

In fact, Forest have regressed significantly with just one point accrued from their opening six games: a worse start to the season than the one under Lamouchi last season, and the Frenchman had arguably more credit in the bank.

So, what has gone wrong for Hughton? We attempt to address the issues at the City Ground.

Championship Odds

No coherent identity

There is no one way to be successful in football.

Not every team has to try to play an expansive, possession-based game, in fact there is an art to being defensively organised, while sides that are direct can be fun to watch.

The one theme that underpins almost all winning teams at any level, though, is that they pick a defined playing identity, recruit a coach who fits that philosophy and sign players accordingly.

Some will argue that flexibility and adaptability is required, and this can be true, but those qualities should always complement rather than undermine an existing identity, baring extreme circumstances.

That means, if there is a tactical issue within a game, a manager should have the pragmatism to make a formational tweak or a substitution to solve it, without changing the fundamental plan.

Recruitment, meanwhile, should be made from a starting point of pre-defined roles within an overall strategy: each player signed should possess the core set of attributes that are required from a player in each position.

Once the fundamental style is established, the next phase of recruitment should be about addressing weaknesses by finding players who fit into the above criteria, but are slightly better than an existing player in their position in one area that is not relevant to the core identity.

For example, if one’s team likes to play out from the back but finds centre-backs are getting dominated in the air, the aim should not be to sign a 36-year-old, no-nonsense brute, but rather search for ball-playing centre-backs who are slightly more aerially imposing - or slightly more powerful - than the existing crop.

That way, a team can problem solve from the inside out, rather than from the outside in, so that any enhancements do not compromise the overall strategy.

The problem at Forest is that there is no overall strategy, which feeds into the below issues.

Championship Relegation Odds

Odds correct as of 2022-06-28 12:00 Odds subject to change.

Misuse of Taylor and Grabban

If Nottingham Forest had a tall, mobile, aerially accomplished striker with great hold-up play like Cardiff’s Kieffer Moore, playing direct would be a great way to go.

In fact, they could probably hoof the ball forward in the way they have at times this season when under pressure and still be reasonably effective.

Without a Moore figure, though, long balls are a senseless waste.

When Lyle Taylor has been at his best, it has been when playing alongside a target man in Tom Elliott with AFC Wimbledon. Alternatively, when using his clever movement to latch onto Conor Gallagher’s through balls in the first half of the 2019/20 campaign at Charlton.

Taylor might be 6’2”, but he is not a target man and it seems incomprehensible that Hughton, having achieved what he has in management, cannot recognize that.

Similarly, Lewis Grabban has never relished dealing with long balls.

The strong work rate the Croydon-born forward displayed earlier in his career – in his first spell at Bournemouth, for example – has dwindled with age and the 33-year-old now looks languid and pedestrian.

That does not mean that Grabban is not still capable of finishing off incisive, transitional moves after a teammate stole the ball high up, but converting clear cut chances is the bulk of his skillset.

Taylor and Grabban might be competent Championship players if the setup maximized their strengths and minimized the significance of their weaknesses. If those designing Forest’s tactical structure did so with a clear idea of what the two forwards can and cannot do, wholeheartedly accepting their limitations to benefit from their strengths.

That is not the case. Taylor and Grabban are being asked to play a game they have never successfully played in the past and, at 31 and 33 respectively, are unlikely to learn to play.

Hughton’s successful sides have all had target men, be that Andy Carroll at Newcastle, Nikola Zigic at Birmingham and Tomer Hemed at Brighton, but neither Taylor nor Grabban will ever fit that description.

They are not the ones that should be blamed. They have long established what their respective skillsets are. Hughton is to blame for assuming that skillset will change.

Sitting back on leads

The first 45 minutes of Forest’s season held so much promise.

The Reds held a compact setup in the first half at Coventry, they stole the ball in the opposing half numerous times, using the pace of Brennan Johnson and Alex Mighten to transition quickly and create several clear cut chances.

One of them, Lyle Taylor took after Johnson’s cut-backs from the right and, at that point, the Tricky Trees had the look of a well-oiled machine.

Alas, Hughton’s side went on to lose 2-1 due to dropping off in the second half, which has since become an unfortunate theme for their campaign overall.

In fact, having conceded just two first half goals in six games this season, Forest have shipped eight in the second halves.

This suggests that while the East Midlanders can keep the correct distances and maintain pressure against the ball before the interval, this deteriorates when energy levels drop, which feeds into their manager’s passive in-game management.

Slow substitutions

In half of Forest’s six league games, Hughton has not used his maximum number of substitutions.

In two of the three matches in which he has, one of the changes was forced through injury: Mbe Soh at Coventry and Jordan Osei-Tutu against Blackburn.

Of the 13 unforced substitutions, just one has come before the 64th minute: that was when Alex Mighten replaced Joao Carvalho at half-time in the 1-1 draw at Derby.

The homegrown youngster gave the Reds an injection of pace and thrust which sparked an improved second half, culminating in Brennan Johnson’s late equaliser and the only point Forest have attained so far this season.

In the following game against Cardiff, though, Mighten stayed on the bench and was not added to the fray until the 81st minute, which raises two questions.

Firstly, whether his in-game management is strong enough.

Birmingham, for example, played brilliantly against Derby last Friday and deservedly won 2-0, yet there was a 5-minute period in the second half when the Rams appeared to be gaining a numerical advantage in midfield, thus getting shots away with ease.

Noticing this, Lee Bowyer switched from 3-4-1-2 to 4-3-3, moving Kristian Pedersen to left-back, Maxime Colin to right-back and Jeremie Bela to the left of the attack, replacing poacher Scott Hogan – who had scored in the first half – with midfielder Gary Gardner.

This switch worked perfectly, because not only did Gardner aid Ivan Sunjic and Ryan Woods in securing the midfield, but Bela benefited from operating further up and scored the goal that sealed the game: when has Hughton shown this type of tactical diligence?

The other question, meanwhile, is whether the 62-year-old places enough faith in Mighten.

Who are the ball-carriers?

Hughton’s sides do not hold onto the ball for long spells and that, in itself, is not an evil: Newcastle, Birmingham and Brighton have all been successful under the former full-back without playing tiki-taka.

With the two midfielders in his 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 systems tending to be positionally disciplined, though, running power and ball-carrying ability becomes essential in at least one of the wide men and one of the two central forwards.

The Irishman’s Championship title winning Newcastle side in 2009/10 had Jonas Gutierrez beating opponents on the wing, Play-Off Semi-Finalists and Europa League competitors Birmingham had Chris Burke, Andros Townsend Nathan Redmond in 2011/12. 

After that, his Brighton promotion winners in 2016/17 had Jamie Murphy or Solly March and Anthony Knockaert carrying the ball forward with Sam Baldock running the channels relentlessly.

Mighten may not be the finished product, but he can carry the ball over long distances which is essential to quickly getting Forest from a defensive posture to an attacking one.

Why, then, has the 19-year-old played just 305 out of a possible 540 minutes of league football? Perhaps there is an argument for Hughton not wanting to bombard the youngster with starts at this stage of his career, which would be more understandable were his qualities not unique to the squad.

Forest need Mighten’s ability to utilize his pace over long distances, because while Zinckernagel can carry the ball, that is more down to his control of it which is not as big an advantage when the Dane likely to spend long spells of games stuck in his own half.

Is it all on Hughton?

Forest’s poor start is a chaotic mix of problems.

Firstly, Hughton takes a huge proportion of the blame for such a dismal return and, given the ambition of the ownership regime, it would not be a huge surprise to see another change in the dugout.

Are the issues exclusively down to the management, though? That is not yet entirely clear.

The well-documented high turnover of managers means, naturally, that Forest have had a high turnover of players who fit different playing identities.

A partial defence of Hughton would be that he came in shortly after a splurge on numerous signings in 2020, with very few of the players who came in that summer proving themselves worthy of taking the team forward.

With those financial commitments already made, Forest are left with a squad that is bloated yet short on players capable of being part of a top six first XI: Joe Worrall, Scott McKenna and James Garner being the arguable exceptions.

The signings have not only come late in the window, but also do not fit the natural Hughton profile.

Given the choice, the former Norwich boss would opt for solid, reliable full-backs with strong professionalism, physical, destructive midfielders, wide players who can carry the ball over long distances, a target man and a forward who can run the channels.

Only a select few of Forest’s existing squad meet that criteria, so there is an argument to say that Hughton is being judged on a template that is not his own.

Then again, managers are paid to work with what they have available and get results – something that, this season, the current incumbent of the City Ground hotseat is failing at quite spectacularly.

Championship Relegation Betting

Rotherham United
WIN PROB: 38%
1
£30 FREE BET
REVEAL OFFER
£20 FREE BET
6/4
£30 FREE BET
6/4
£30 FREE BET
5/4
Reading
WIN PROB: 27%
1
£30 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
9/4
REVEAL OFFER
9/4
£30 FREE BET
7/4
£20 FREE BET
Birmingham
WIN PROB: 27%
1
£30 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
9/4
£20 FREE BET
9/4
£30 FREE BET
2/1
REVEAL OFFER
2/1
Bristol City
WIN PROB: 22%
1
£30 FREE BET
7/2
REVEAL OFFER
7/2
£30 FREE BET
£20 FREE BET
3/1
£30 FREE BET
Wigan
WIN PROB: 17%
1
REVEAL OFFER
5/1
£30 FREE BET
4/1
£30 FREE BET
7/2
£20 FREE BET
7/2
£30 FREE BET
7/2
Blackpool
WIN PROB: 17%
1
£30 FREE BET
5/1
£30 FREE BET
9/2
£30 FREE BET
4/1
£20 FREE BET
4/1
REVEAL OFFER
3/1
Preston
WIN PROB: 14%
1
£30 FREE BET
6/1
REVEAL OFFER
£30 FREE BET
5/1
£20 FREE BET
9/2
£30 FREE BET
7/2
Hull City
WIN PROB: 15%
1
REVEAL OFFER
£30 FREE BET
5/1
£20 FREE BET
5/1
£30 FREE BET
5/1
£30 FREE BET
9/2
Luton
WIN PROB: 13%
1
£30 FREE BET
7/1
£20 FREE BET
7/1
£30 FREE BET
7/1
£30 FREE BET
REVEAL OFFER
6/1
Sunderland
WIN PROB: 12%
1
£30 FREE BET
£20 FREE BET
7/1
£30 FREE BET
7/1
REVEAL OFFER
7/1
£30 FREE BET
6/1
Cardiff
WIN PROB: 13%
1
£30 FREE BET
7/1
£20 FREE BET
7/1
£30 FREE BET
7/1
REVEAL OFFER
7/1
£30 FREE BET
Millwall
WIN PROB: 11%
1
REVEAL OFFER
8/1
£30 FREE BET
7/1
£20 FREE BET
7/1
£30 FREE BET
7/1
£30 FREE BET
7/1
Blackburn
WIN PROB: 10%
1
REVEAL OFFER
9/1
£30 FREE BET
7/1
£20 FREE BET
7/1
£30 FREE BET
7/1
£30 FREE BET
Queens Park Rangers
WIN PROB: 10%
1
REVEAL OFFER
9/1
£30 FREE BET
8/1
£20 FREE BET
8/1
£30 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
7/1
Coventry
WIN PROB: 10%
1
REVEAL OFFER
9/1
£30 FREE BET
8/1
£20 FREE BET
8/1
£30 FREE BET
8/1
£30 FREE BET
Burnley
WIN PROB: 9%
1
£30 FREE BET
£20 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
8/1
£30 FREE BET
8/1
REVEAL OFFER
8/1
Stoke City
WIN PROB: 8%
1
REVEAL OFFER
£30 FREE BET
£20 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
8/1
Huddersfield
WIN PROB: 8%
1
£30 FREE BET
REVEAL OFFER
£30 FREE BET
£20 FREE BET
9/1
£30 FREE BET
8/1
Swansea City
WIN PROB: 7%
1
£30 FREE BET
REVEAL OFFER
£30 FREE BET
£20 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
Middlesbrough
WIN PROB: 5%
1
£30 FREE BET
£20 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
REVEAL OFFER
£30 FREE BET
Sheffield United
WIN PROB: 5%
1
£30 FREE BET
£20 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
REVEAL OFFER
West Bromwich Albion
WIN PROB: 4%
1
REVEAL OFFER
£30 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
£20 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
Norwich
WIN PROB: 2%
1
REVEAL OFFER
£30 FREE BET
£20 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
Watford
WIN PROB: 3%
1
£30 FREE BET
£20 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
REVEAL OFFER
£30 FREE BET
Show More
Odds correct as of 2022-06-28 12:00 Odds subject to change.
Advert Disclaimer
Bettingodds.com is a free online resource which endeavour to provide helpful and useful content and odds comparison to its visitors. Please be advised that Bettingodds.com accepts affiliate commission from the companies appearing on the site, and agreed commission levels impact the location and order in which the companies (and/or their products) are presented on the website. Any ratings that appear on this site is determined by our subjective opinion of the brand but also based on market share and reputation, each brand's conversion rates, commission paid to us and general consumer interest. Company listings on this page don't imply our endorsement. We do not feature all providers on the market. Except as expressly set forth in our terms and conditions, all statements and warranties regarding the information presented on this page are disclaimed. The information, including odds, which appear on this site is subject to change at any time.
Bet £10 Get £30 In Free Bets (APP Only)
#AD New UK, IE & Malta users only. Min. £10/€10 first deposit only using Debit Card or Trustly. Free bets expire in 90 days. T&Cs apply.
Bet £10 Get £30 In Free Bets
#AD 18+. Play Safe. New customers using Promo code H30 only, Min £10/€10 stake,  min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 2 x £15/€15, free bets credited after  settlement of first qualifying bet, free bets will expire 30 days after  the qualifying bet is placed, payment method/player/country restrictions apply.
Bet £10 Get £20 In Free Bets
#AD Min stake £10. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). First bet only. Free bets expire in 7 days. Cashed out bets won’t apply. Payment method restrictions. Online UK customers only. 30 days to qualify for £20 in Free Bets. 18+. T&Cs apply
Bet £10 Get £60 in Bonuses
#AD New UK customers only. Register using the promo code BETFRED60, deposit and place first bet of £10+ on Sports (cumulative Evens+) within 7 days of registration. First bet must be on Sports. £20 in Free Bets to be used on Sports, £10 in Free Bets to be used on Lotto and 50 Free Spins (20p per spin) credited within 48 hours of bet settlement. Further £20 in Free Bets credited 5 days after settlement. Bonuses have a 7-day expiry. Payment restrictions apply. SMS verification and/or Proof of I.D and address may be required. Full T&Cs apply.
100% Up To £50 Welcome Bonus + 25 Spins
#AD 18+ begambleaware.org; New bettors get 100% of deposit up to £50; Once per household; Min deposit £15 (no Skrill/Neteller); Wager a total of 8 times deposit + bonus, with max qualifying bet stake equal to your initial bonus amount; Bonus expires after 60 days; Min odds of 4/5 on singles, or 2/5 per leg for acca; Some bet types excluded; Free spins validity: 7 days; Free spins max. winnings = £100; See full terms; Terms apply.
Bet £10 & Get £30 In Free Bets + £10 Bonus
#AD Promo code: 30FB • Min deposit £10 • A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £10 • Min odds 1/2 (1.50) • Free Bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days • Free Bet stakes not included in returns • Casino Bonus must be claimed within 7 days and expires after 14 days • To withdraw any winnings from the Casino Bonus, wager the Bonus amount 40 times within 14 days • Withdrawal restrictions, payment methods, country & Full T&Cs apply.
Welcome Offer
#AD Bet £10 & Get £50 in Free Bets for new customers at bet365. Min deposit requirement. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits and are available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.
Bet £10 Get £30 In Free Bets + 100 Free Spins
#AD 18+ New customers only. Opt in, bet £10 at odds 2.00+ within 7 days, no cashout. Get 3x £10 Free Bets, set events at odds 2.00+. Plus 100 Free Spins on Big Bass Bonanza, no wagering. Free Bets and Spins expire in 7 days. Card payments only. T&Cs apply. Please gamble responsibly.
Bet £20 & Get It Back As CASH If It Loses
#AD New customers only. Place your FIRST bet on any Football market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £20. Only deposits made using cards will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply.
Bet £10 Get £30 In Free Bets
#AD Place a min £10 bet on the Sportsbook on odds of min 1/2 (1.5), get £30 in Free Bets. Rewards valid for 30 days. SMS verification required. Only deposits via cards will qualify. T&Cs apply. Please Gamble Responsibly
Get £35 In Free Bets
#AD Place a qualifying £25 fixed odds bet at odds of 1/2 or greater. Qualifying bet cannot be placed in-play or cashed out early. A first free £5 fixed odds bet will be credited upon settlement of the qualifying bet. 4 x following £5 free fixed odds bets will be added to your account on consecutive days. T&C's apply, 18+ begambleaware.org