Behind Enemy Lines: Nottingham Forest

MILLWALL head into their first game back in the Championship with a fully fit squad, other than Ryan Tunnicliffe, who joined last week and is behind the rest of the squad in terms of match sharpness after his release by Fulham early in the summer.

The Lions are back in the second tier following a two-year absence, and will be hoping to establish themselves in the league.

Millwall added seven players to their squad in the close season: Conor McLaughlin (Fleetwood), Tom Elliott (AFC Wimbledon), Ryan Tunnicliffe (Fulham) and James Meredith (Bradford) were all free transfers. Jed Wallace and George Saville (both Wolves) and Jake Cooper from Reading were all signed for fees having had previous loan spells at the club.

Mark Warburton took over at the City Ground last March and will be hoping to improve on last season when Forest stayed up only on goal difference.

The loss of last season’s top scorer Britt Assombalonga could hit them, and former Rangers boss Warburton moved quickly to replace him with proven Championship striker Daryl Murphy.

Exciting young winger Barrie McKay, signed from Rangers, will be looking to impress this season, too. Warburton also shopped in the Scottish market to bring in striker Jason Cummings from Hibernian.

A mid-table finish is probably a realistic goal for Forest, but with a few more additions before August 31 they could challenge for a top-six spot.

Lucas Ball spoke to Forest fan Jon Jackson ahead of the first fixture of the new season.

Twitter: @jonners

Why do you support Forest?

Although I’ve never lived in Nottingham, my mum grew up there and they all supported Forest. I went to my first match when I was eight, it was Hereford United versus Nottingham Forest and I’ve been a fan ever since.

What are your expectations for 2017-18?

Better than last season! Surviving on goal difference wasn’t ideal, but we’ve got a new owner who seems to understand how to build the solid base for a football club and we’ve brought in some decent players. I’m not being too ambitious, but I think we’ll be comfortably above the relegation zone. Mid-table would be nice.

Do Forest have the right man in charge?

I definitely think Mark Warburton is the right person to take the club forward. He did well at Brentford and Rangers and he’s assembled a good backroom team in David Weir and goalkeeping coach, Jim Stewart. We’ve also got Frank McParland as our sporting director, who seems to be bringing the right people to the club.

What has your transfer business been like?

Positive. A lot of fans are annoyed we let Britt Assombalonga go to Middlesborough, but I think we’ve brought in some really good attacking options. We’ve got a proven Championship goal scorer in Daryl Murphy, a big guy in midfield in Andrea Bouchalakis, and some young talent in Barrie McKay and Jason Cummings.

Who will be your danger men on Friday night?

Apostolos Vellios has looked really sharp and bagged a handful of goals in pre-season, so he could be hard to defend against.

Ben Brereton won the under-19 European Championships with England last month and will be looking to continue his good form into this new season. Finally, McKay came in from Rangers over the summer and he’s looked a very tricky player to play against – so I’d say watch out for him.

In your opinion, which players are Millwall's most threatening?

As a Welsh football fan, I know that Steve Morison can be dangerous on his day. I know he did well for you last season, so I should think he’ll be keen to keep the momentum going this time round.

Equally, Lee Gregory had a good season for you in League One – so he’s surely one to watch out for, too.

What is your predicted Forest formation and line-up?



Lichaj, Worrall, Mancienne, Traore

Bouchalakis, Cohen

McKay, Clough, Brereton


Finally, a score prediction?

I would hope our form in pre-season will continue and we’ll score a couple of goals at least. Nottingham Forest 2-1 Millwall.

Graphic: @ShedCreative