Sky Bet Championship outfit Nottingham Forest started the 2018/19 campaign with a 1-1 draw at Bristol City on Saturday afternoon and the Reds showed a lot of spirit to claim a share of the spoils, having gone a goal down inside the first five minutes.
Forest’s next Championship challenge comes under the City Ground floodlights when second tier new boys West Bromwich Albion arrive in the East Midlands, with the Baggies looking to bounce back following an opening day defeat at home to Bolton Wanderers.
Aitor Karanka’s Forest team will naturally take a little bit of time to settle as a team given that no fewer than 11 players were recruited during a particularly busy summer on Trentside.
Several of the recent arrivals made their debuts in Saturday’s draw but it was Daryl Murphy who grabbed the spotlight, silencing his critics by rising highest to head home an equaliser which typified the strengths he can bring to the Forest team.
At 35 years of age it seems unlikely that Murphy will be capable of playing three games in a week and Reds’ boss Karanka might look to hand £6 million summer signing, Lewis Grabban, his first start for the club after he impressed during a 20 minute cameo against Lee Johnson’s Robins.
On paper the ex-Bournemouth man looks like a quality signing for Forest and last season he netted 20 goals from 34 appearances spread across spells with Sunderland and Aston Villa, making him one of the Championship’s most prolific marksmen.
The 30-year-old could be a massive inclusion in the Reds’ side against a Baggies side who appear to be suffering a crisis of confidence, at least if their first showing of the season is anything to go by, when they were vastly underwhelming in a 2-1 defeat to Phil Parkinson’s unfancied Trotters.
Grabban’s presence in and around the penalty area could be a really useful asset for the Reds as they go in search of a win that will naturally boost morale, and offer those of a Forest persuasion hope that the 2018/19 campaign can be a successful one.
For Murphy it might represent a blow to not retain his place in the starting line-up after a solid showing at Ashton Gate, but in this Forest squad he needs to realise that rotation will come naturally as the Reds go in search of promotion, and Grabban might just be the more logical option in attack for the game with Darren Moore’s outfit.