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Cooper's challenge is to 'find the blend' between expansive and pragmatic

Nottingham Forest fan's voice graphic
Nottingham Forest fan's voice graphic

Pat Riddell, The Famous Club

Having named their 25-man squad last week after a busy transfer window, Nottingham Forest now have the strength and depth to cover injuries and tactical shifts, as well as dips in form.

And with that flexibility, Steve Cooper has the ability to switch from the 3-4-2-1 formation that has brought six points so far this season, to the 4-2-3-1 we saw in Monday's 1-1 draw against Burnley. But it's obvious that adapting to the demands of the Premier League presents its own problems.

Forest's dilemmas last season came from finding a balance between defensive solidity and a more expansive style.

Cooper's obvious challenge now is to find the blend that works best with this squad of talented players. Does the width come from wingers or wing-backs? Exciting as it is to have a front four of Awoniyi, Gibbs-White, Elanga and Hudson-Odoi, there needs to be a solid base behind them.

Sangare has evidently been brought in to unlock this problem. A midfield destroyer who can break up play and feed the attacking players in front. If he can dominate the area in front of the defence, then Forest will be able to shift formations at ease.

Hopefully the return of Niakhate and Felipe will address some of that defensive solidity, but developing this new understanding across the team is going to be the difference between a pragmatic approach and how Cooper really wants to play.