Welcome to the City Ground where I have made the move following conversations with the FM Community.
I join Nottingham Forest FC sitting in the EFL Championship predicted to struggle in the bottom half of the table.
I have set myself the target of pushing into the top half of the table for season 2017-18. With the desire to push for promotion to the EPL in 2018-19. From there we will look to secure top flight football in 2019-20. To then be challenging for the top half of the league in 2020-21.
Pre-Season came and went with the first league game kicking off on Saturday 5th August. We play Millwall at home and hold onto the attacking 442 formation I have been trying to implement since being appointed at the City Ground.
The first game of the season shows the signs that the gruelling fitness regime during pre-season was the correct decision. We win 3-0 in front of a happy home crowd. The key note from this game is not just the goals scored by striker Jason Cummings but his work rate.
We progress through the first month of the season with three wins on the bounce in the EFL Championship and a 2nd round Carabao Cup win against minnows Carlisle. We then suffer a Home defeat to Middlesbrough and get cruelly beaten by Stoke City in the 3rd round of the Carabao Cup. With the Forest team licking their wounds we travelled to Elland Road for a league game against Leeds United.
We flash out of the blocks to end the first half four goals up. To then lose focus and fight to keep the four goal difference in a second half thriller (for the neutral).
We note that the attacking 442 is scoring goals but seems to pull holes in the defensive line when countered quickly.
We continue through September with one victory, one draw and three losses. Which leads myself to turn my back on the 442 formation and start experimenting with firstly a 2323 formation ( a tactic I have been developing with another save). To a 523 with WB formation (a tactic I had used in some capacity in FM17). The primary reason for changing things was due to inconsistencies in our form and the sheer fact we would just ship goals in against the run of form during the middle stages of the season.
At the halfway point we have our heads above the crowd, but only just, as Lee Johnson’s Bristol City are snapping at our heels.
We continue the new year with inconsistent form. Victory against Leeds Utd in the 3rd round of the FA Cup gives the Forest fans hope. That hope was false hope when Chelsea hit us with a 0-3 home defeat. The 2323 formation is proving to be too traumatic to my nerves as we lose to Fulham away and draw with Hull City at home.
I implement the 523 WB formation to see if we can show some defensive stability along side the attacking prowess we have shown through out the season.
With 5 victories on the bounce we have the local derby with Derby County approach.
With the home crowd baying for blood we thrash our local rivals 5-0. Patrick Bamford (a summer signing for £7.5m from Middlesbrough) hits a hat trick to leave the home fans raving with joy.
We continue our rich vein of form and the chairman offers me an extension to my contract.
We have a team to build!
The last six games bring about a sense of realism that we are just a few games away from achieving the target for season 2018-19. To gain promotion to the EPL.
With results going our way we win the EFL Championship with victory at home against Brentford.
We see out the Ipswich game to a parade for the fans. And the remaining three league games are played at a canter.
We will now look to improve the facilities and team before our first game in the EPL.