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Left Brian: Season Preview

1 August 17 words: Rich Crouch

On the eve of the new football season, we look at some of Nottingham Forest's new star signings...

As a new season begins it’s worth a look at what that will be bringing with it. For the first time in a long time there is as some optimism around the City Ground. Our new owner has seemingly rejuvenated the fan base with a few shrewd moves. I’ll talk about a handful of our new players shortly, but first I wanted to acknowledge the improvements I’ve seen down Trentside in the few short months that Evangelos Marinakis has been our owner.

Firstly, and probably the most important signing we could have made in the post Fawaz era – Nicholas Randall QC as chairman. What strikes me about this move is the desire to have a professional at the helm of the club. One of his first moves was to write an open letter, which extended to six pages, to the fans. Not promising a third star, or multi million pound signings, but promising that they would work to get the basics right. The letter struck a good tone and was swiftly followed up with a move into the 21st century with season cards instead of paper tickets, a new set of seats for the subs to sit on, and a generally a more professional outlook.

As a notable silk, Randall has a fair few quotes about him around the place, but I particularly liked this one listed on the Matrix Chambers website “He has a tremendous calm about him. He is wholly unflappable and has a gentle charm about him. He has a down-to-earth, realistic approach that works well in the sports world.” It remains to be seen how it will play out, but I feel we’re off to a good start.

We’ve also signed a fair few players this season, and let a few go. I’ll only go into the most notable ones here.

Daryl Murphy – around £2m from Newcastle

Only playing 15 games in his time on the Toon, but scoring 5 goals, Murphy is probably better remembered for his time at Ipswich where he scored 50 goals in 127 appearances after signing permanent following two loan spells. A 1-in-3ish goal scorer, a few years back Murphy would have been a very shrewd buy indeed. At 34 the three year contract might be a bit ambitious, but if he can find form he will find the net this season. Remaining fit and healthy is first priority, if he does that there’s no reason to believe he won’t score 15-20 goals this season.

Jason Cummings – Undisclosed from Hibs

23 goals in 39 games last year shows the self-proclaimed ‘Cum-Dog’ knows where the onion bag is. He’s looked sharp in the early pre-seasons, though we’ll find out if that sharpness can translate to league goals over the next few weeks. At only 22 years old, Cummings could have a very bright future Trentside if he can replicate his form from the Scottish Championship.

Barrie McKay – around £500k from Rangers

Another import from Scotland, showing signs that we’re casting a wider scouting net this season. Another Scottish early 20s starlet with a bright future. ‘Looking dynamite’ is the phrase used in local media to sum up McKay’s preseason outings, so hopefully this form will continue. He looks very lively against Burnley, and definitely one to give you the wow factor when he gets the ball.

With a handful of other incomers, it feels like the hole left by Britt Assombalonga’s £15m move to Middlesbrough will be more than adequately filled. We’ll know more as the season begins on Friday, and by the end of August I think we’ll know if we’ve had a good summer or not.

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