Pre-Season Focus: Nottingham Forest


I am sure I am not alone when I say it was good to see Nottingham Forest return to the Premier League last season. Equally, I am sure I am not alone when I say I didn’t expect Nottingham Forest to splash out £170 million on 29 new players throughout the season.

They got a lot of criticism and in some circles, a lot of mocking and manager Steve Cooper was often rumoured to be one day away from being sacked. The club stuck by their manager and he repaid their faith by keeping them in the Premier League.

Forest have had a different approach this summer and haven’t been as active in the transfer market as they look to build on their first season back in the Premier League.

Stadium: City Ground
Nickname(s): Forest, The Reds, Tricky Trees, The Garibaldi
Founded: 1865
Manager: Steve Cooper

Last Season: 16th
Top Scorer(s): Brennan Johnson (8)

Players who have played for Villa and Nottingham Forest

Henri Lansbury

Henri Lansbury came through the Arsenal academy after picking him up from Norwich City. He failed to make any real impact with the Gunners spending more time out on loan including spells with West Ham and Watford.

In 2012, he signed for Nottingham Forest for a fee in the region of £1 million and this is where he made his name during a 5 year spell with the club. He became a fan favourite and regular at the City Ground and went on to make 145 appearances with the Reds.

In 2017, he had contract issues with Forest and when a £3 million offer came from Aston Villa he moved across the Midlands. He spent four years with the club without really setting the world alight. He was part of the team that finished runners-up in the EFL in 2020 and the Playoff-Final in 2019.

His contract was mutually terminated in January 2021 and went on to have spells with Bristol City and Luton Town. He left Luton at the end of last season and is yet to find a new club.

Eric Lichaj

Eric Lichaj was signed by Aston Villa in 2007 from Chicago Fire Premier. He was involved in the pre-season Peace Cup in 2009 but failed to make any real impact and was sent out for loan spells with Lincoln, Leyton Orient and Leeds United.

He went on to play 32 games during a six-year spell at Aston Villa and was released on a free transfer at the end of his contract in 2013.

Lichaj signed for Nottingham Forest and this is where he found his home going on to make 173 appearances during five years with the club. The right-back spoke about his ‘great pride’ at captaining the Reds and was voted the fan’s Player of the Year in 2017.

In 2018, he joined Hull City for an undisclosed fee where he played 68 appearances during a two-year spell. Lichaj finished his career in Turkey with Fatih Karagümrük S.K. where he spent one season before retiring from football.

Head to Head

Aston Villa: 61
Nottingham Forest: 38
Drawn: 31

Last Meeting: Aston Villa 2-0 Nottingham Forest (8th April ’23)
2023/24 Fixtures: H – 24th February ’24, A- 4th November ’23.

Confirmed Transfers

IN: Anthony Elanga (£15 million), Chris Wood (£15 million), Matt Turner (£7 million), Ola Aina (Free).

OUT: Sam Surridge (£5 million), Jack Colback (Free), Cafú (Free), Jordan Smith (Free), Steve Cook (Undisclosed).

Transfer Rumours

IN: Wilmar Barrios from Zenit (£16 million), Roger Ibañez from Al-Ahli (£26 million).

OUT: Brennan Johnson to Aston Villa (£30 million).


Notts County 0-1 Nottm Forest (July 15)
Valencia 1-0 Nottm Forest (July 18)
Levante 1-2 Nottm Forest (July 22)
Leeds 2-0 Nottm Forest (July 27)
PSV 1-0 Nottm Forest (July 30)
Nottm Forest 0-5 Rennes (August 2)
Frankfurt 0-0 Nottm Forest (August 5)

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