The honeymoon period under Aitor Karanka has officially come to end at Nottingham Forest as they find themselves flirting with another relegation battle.
The Reds were condemned to another defeat on Tuesday as they were beaten 1-0 at home to promotion chasers Brentford and with them only taking three points from their past six games the team have slipped further down the table.
Forest had gained some momentum throughout March and looked to end a rather dark season on a positive note but failing to score a league goal in their past six matches has dampened everyone’s spirits.
The Reds are a game behind their table neighbours but being nine points off Barnsley who sit 22nd in the league, the thought of relegation looms heavy.
It has become clear what the main reason is for the lack of points is – a lack of goals.
Forest have only managed to net in five of Karanka’s 16 games in charge and don’t seem to have found a solution to end their goal drought and if they are to end the season higher up the table that problem needs addressing.
Karanka has three strikers to choose from to lead his attack, Daryl Murphy, Apostolos Vellios, and Ben Brereton but none of them have been able to come up with the goods.
Academy graduate Brereton was tipped for success this Championship campaign after a breakthrough season last year but has failed to reach his possible heights but still only being a teenager, he still has plenty of seasons ahead to reach his true protentional.
But the Reds aren't fortunate to have time on their hands in the remaining few fixtures to develop and allow Brereton to have goalless games whilst he still finds his feet, so he may not be the best first choice option for now but one for the future.
Murphy started this season positively racking up seven goals in his first few months but has failed to regain his impressive form since the end of last year but despite the recent patchy performances he may still be the best option up front for the remaining five games.
The 35-year-old has experience on his side and knows the Championship well and may have the tools and ability to dig deep and keep his side in the safety zone.
In times when sides are in risk of a relegation fight, experience and maturity can outweigh talent and ability in starting spots in the match day line-up.
Another factor that needs addressing that can play a major part in revamping the Forest attack is the pace within the team.
The attack against Brentford on Tuesday night was boring and slow moving for the majority of the time and failed to heavily test their defence but when they did hit the opposition with their pace the play was positive.
The likes of Lee Tomlin, Joe Lolley and Brereton failed to reach and combine their fast attacking potentional that has impressed the Forest faithful in previous fixtures and didn’t hit the golden opportunities that fell at their feet to earn their side a point.
Not many faults can be made towards the Reds midfield and forwards in terms of ability and talent and in other season or month could easily reach their true protentional, but they are currently unable to reach that feat now for whatever reason.
So, a shakeup in the starting line-up and the tactics and playing formations being reverted to simple ways is extremely needed.