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First Team

Media View: Expert insight on Forest


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

AFC Bournemouth will be hoping to build on their 1-1 draw against West Ham United on Thursday evening when they face Nottingham Forest at Vitality Stadium on Sunday (2pm kick-off).  

The Cherries won the reverse fixture at the City Ground in December, after a Dominic Solanke hat-trick secured a dramatic three points after Willy Boly saw red in the first half.

Andoni Iraola’s team now look to secure their first Premier League win of 2024 against Forest, having beaten both QPR and Swansea City in the FA Cup last month.

As for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side, they’re also looking for their first top flight win of the calendar year, their last coming on 30th December against Manchester United as Nicholas Dominguez and Morgan Gibbs-White were amongst the goals.

Ahead of Saturday’s clash, afcb.co.uk caught up with David Jackson who covers the fortunes of Forest for BBC Radio Nottingham. 


Founded: 1865

Ground: The City Ground

Nicknames: Forest

Record appearances: Bob McKinlay – 692 games (1951-69)

Record goalscorer: Grenville Morris – 217 goals in 460 games

Head coach: Nuno Espírito Santo (appointed December 2023)

Club captain: Joe Worrall

League position: 16th

Leading goalscorer: Chris Wood (nine in total)

Last game: Nottingham Forest 1-2 Arsenal (Premier League) 

afcb.co.uk: How's life been under Nuno? 

Well, they’ve had a couple of fantastic results after he was appointed, beating Newcastle United away and Manchester United home, which did the club wonders and it’s been a great start.

January has been a lot busier than we thought, they had an FA Cup replay tie with Blackpool that went to a replay, a fourth round tie with Bristol City and that has gone to a replay as well.

They’ve had a lot more fixtures than they originally might’ve thought and, combined with a January transfer window with Nuno so early on his time, it’s been a full-on six or seven weeks.

afcb.co.uk: After a positive first season back in the Premier League, what has been the thought and aims for the club this season? 

Well it’s difficult to judge now, not knowing what the punishment is going to be for breaching profit and sustainability rules.

They could have a possible points deduction as a result and until that is sorted and the appeals are done, it’s difficult to know what they’re dealing with. As a result, it's difficult to say what the ambition is.

Last season it was just to stay up and this season, talk around the club has been about progress and whether they can they build on that season.

A deduction might mean that survival becomes the only aim, but otherwise under the new head coach and key players back fit and back from AFCON, it’s interesting to see how it goes.

afcb.co.uk: Talking about profit and sustainability, did that affect the January transfer window for Forest? 

Well, the last few weeks has seen Forest sort of just get through to be honest. Having played a lot of games and with their injuries and players absent at AFCON, the same players have had to play and get them through playing a lot of minutes.

The signing that everyone was waiting for was a goalkeeper. They signed two international goalkeepers last season but despite this, there was still a need to recruit in that position.

They signed Matz Sels from French side Strasbourg, an experienced goalkeeper, and they also signed Gio Reyna from Dortmund and Rodrigo Ribeiro from Sporting Lisbon. 

So they got an experienced goalkeeper and two talented younger players and I’d expect the goalkeeper to go straight in. Nuno has talked about getting a smaller squad and a few left out on loan, so the squad is marginally smaller but it’s all part of the plan.

afcb.co.uk: What's the mood amongst the fanbase in general do you think? 

They loved Steve Cooper, and so far there is an appreciation of what Nuno’s doing.

Wins over Newcastle United and Manchester United as I mentioned have been fantastic, particularly so early into his reign.

They've had to be pretty patientt throughout January, they've been missing six players at AFCON - the most in the Premier League, missing Taiwo Awonyi, Anthony Elanga and Morgan Gibbs-White for a while as well.

But now they're back, Elanga and Awonyi came off the bench against Arsenal in midweek.

It's encouraging to see the squad get back to relatively full strength so they can now rest the players who played all the minutes in January and there's some optimism that Nuno can get things moving from this point.

A few players have been understandably tired recently so with numbers back, they look healthier and have far more options than a few weeks ago.

afcb.co.uk: Any thoughts on how the game will pan out on Sunday? 

Forest haven’t had loads of success at Bournemouth!

I think 2014 was the last win there, and it's interesting because it's difficult to gauge how they've played so late as I've said before, with the injuries and team they've played.

I'm a lot more optimistic about Forest as – sorry to keep mentioning them! - Morgan Gibbs-White, Anthony Elanga and Taiwo Awonyi are all back and they've got a much better look in the forward areas. It should be an interesting one!

You can follow David on X: @Matchtalk 

Officials: Rebecca Welch (referee), Simon Bennett (assistant), Daniel Robathan (assistant), Tony Harrington (fourth official), Peter Bankes (VAR).

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