Saturday morning saw me touchdown at Manchester Airport after a ten-hour flight from Mexico where I had spent the last fortnight soaking up the sun and lining my stomach with copious amounts of tequila.
In fairness, the prospect of racing along the M62, M621 and M1 from the airport to get myself in front of a television to watch Nottingham Forest take on an in-form Queen’s Park Rangers, hardly had me buzzing to have landed back on English soil.
The Reds have experienced a troubled start to the 2015/16 season and following the departure of the influential Michail Antonio on deadline day, things were seemingly bleak as Forest travelled to take on Charlie Austin and his cronies.
However, Dougie Freedman has worked tirelessly during this transfer window, and Saturday’s dominating 2-1 win over the Rs was down to the performances of his new recruits.
Winger Ryan Mendes joined the Reds from Lille and resembled a player who is very much in the same mould as Chelsea star Willian. Slightly raw and very direct, but looking to possess an array of skills and quick footwork that will have no doubt made the rest of the Championship stand up and take note of his potential.
Nelson Oliveira made his debut as a substitute in the second half, and it was the Portuguese forward who snatched the winner nine minutes from time, following a through ball from Mendes.
Oliveira could be a really astute capture at Championship level and if he can gain some match sharpness, he could be the man to score the goals which propel Forest up the league.
Chris O’Grady was also signed for Forest on transfer deadline day, and many of the Reds contingent were hardly jumping for joy at the prospect of the former Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley frontman joining the club.
But the performance he offered in Saturday’s win rammed a seriously big slice of humble pie back down the throats of his critics, and he was the worthy winner of the man-of-the-match accolade.
The 29-year-old gave QPR defender Nedum Onuoha nightmares and his ability to hold the ball up and bring the likes of Mendes, Henri Lansbury and, in the second half, Jamie Ward, into the game was frighteningly impressive.
Whilst O’Grady probably won’t score 15 goals for the Reds, it is the other attributes he possesses which could make him a solid piece of business for the club.
Special praise is also reserved for left-back Daniel Pinillos, who was my choice for man-of-the-match on Saturday. I thought Saturday would be his toughest test to date in a Forest shirt, up against flying winger Matt Phillips, but the Spaniard appeared to embrace the challenge.
Phillips was largely ineffective, and that was down to the performance of the Forest full-back, who never gave him the chance to get going.
The left side of defence has so often been the problem area for Forest, but it appears that Pinillos’s arrival finally offers some cause for optimism that the Reds now have an assured left-back in place.