Nottingham Forest skipper Chris Cohen put pen-to-paper on a one-year deal to remain at the City Ground for another season yesterday and his contract extension goes a long way towards suggesting that the Reds want to get things right in the transfer market this summer.
The 2017/18 campaign will be Cohen’s eleventh as a Forest player and after three serious ACL injuries in his knee, the Reds faithful will be hopeful that his fitness concerns are now firmly consigned to the past.
Despite his knee issues of old there is little to doubt that the 30-year-old is still a very good Championship footballer when he is fit and playing regular football for the team, indeed, his goal against Ipswich Town to aid Forest in their quest for survival showed just that.
Cohen signing on the dotted line needs to ignite a summer which sees the Reds recruit solid, experienced Championship players and anything less from boss Mark Warburton simply won’t wash with the Forest supporters, following last season’s debacle.
The recruitment drive in preparation for the 2016/17 campaign was nothing short of abysmal and both Philippe Montanier and ex-director of football, Pedro Pereira, must take a long hard look at the transfer dealings they did during the last pre-season.
Several of their signings would probably not be good enough to contest for a shirt at Dog and Duck FC of the Nottingham Sunday League, let alone be capable of playing week after week in the second tier of English football.
Warburton’s track record in the transfer market is pretty good however and hopefully he can secure the right players during the summer to transform Forest into a club that challenges at the right end of the table next season.
The Reds need to sign leaders and players who can transform their fortunes on the road. A lack of fight and mental strength was evident during the 2016/17 campaign, particularly away from home, and the Forest gaffer will undoubtedly look to change that.
The club is already blessed with several top quality youngsters and the need to sign more of those, although shouldn’t be overlooked, is certainly not a priority right now.
Warburton needs to go out and recruit players who genuinely care about doing well for the good of the football club. The players needed are the ones who appreciate what a proud club they play for, the individuals who are willing to give everything towards the cause of earning three points on a Saturday afternoon. Overpaid foreign imports who have no idea how to fight and battle in the Sky Bet Championship need to become a horrible chapter of the club’s past.
I said shortly after the victory on Sunday that Forest should do all they can to retain the majority of the 18 players who featured in the squad and I stick by that.
Thomas Lam could be sold, Dimitar Evtimov and Matty Cash may go out on loan, whilst Aaron Tshibola will obviously return to Aston Villa at the end of his loan, but the rest can be assets to the football club and that includes Cohen.
Since signing from Yeovil Town as a youngster the midfielder has played 300 times for the club and that loyalty has rightfully been rewarded.
Indeed, if Forest had 11 players who, like Cohen, shared the same desire to win a game of football every time they pull a red shirt over their head, then the club certainly wouldn’t ever be languishing near the foot of the Championship.