Nottingham Forest will be proud of their performance against Liverpool last weekend, earning their second victory of the Premier League season after a 1-0 success, and Steve Cooper will surely be hoping that he has cracked the code to get a tune out of his newly-built team.
It’s safe to say the Garibaldi have struggled upon their return to the top flight so far, with just nine points earned out of a possible 36, but following the three-pointer over Jurgen Klopp’s team, it’s not too late to turn things around.
Indeed, the Tricky Trees are bottom of the table but match their relegation zone rivals for points and are currently just two from safety. Therefore, if Cooper can inspire his team to continue picking up results from their upcoming games ahead of the World Cup, it could put them in a good position for the second half of the campaign.
After signing 22 new players in the summer, it was going to not only take a while for the new players to settle in but for the Forest boss to establish which members of his squad were going to fit best into his philosophy and his preferred starting XI.
It is unlikely that Cooper would have this completely fine-tuned just from one recent victory, but there is one player who made a huge difference to the team and can continue to make a positive impact if he is allowed to build up a good run of form.
Taiwo Awoniyi scored the only goal at the weekend, ironically against his former club, and it’s fair to say that the talented Nigerian striker should retain his place in the centre-forward role in Forest’s line-up.
Cooper has only given five starts to the former Union Berlin goal machine since he joined for a transfer fee of £17.5m this summer, averaging just 41 minutes per game, which is surprising when you consider his influence on the pitch.
In 11 appearances, Awoniyi – who was dubbed “sensational” by Klopp following his recent performance against Liverpool – has scored three goals and created one big chance, taking 1.3 shots per game as well as currently being the club’s top scorer.
With that in mind, Cooper must have the striker’s name at the top of his list when putting together his team sheets going forward, as the Nottingham Forest newbie can be the handful in attack that the Reds need in order to save their season.