James Garner clinched his return to Nottingham Forest at the start of this week.
The Manchester United loanee was deemed not quite ready for Manchester United’s first team by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. So he has returned to Forest for another season on loan.
Garner made his 2021/22 season debut for Forest against Wolves in the Carabao Cup last night.
With Wolves having just 48 hours after the Premier League defeat at the weekend and losing their first two league matches, Forest may have fancied their chances at an upset.
It was not to be. Garner’s Forest were beaten 4-0 and totally outclassed by a motivated Wolves side.
Forest in a tricky moment
Forest’s form trailed off at the end of last season, failing to win any of their last five Championship matches.
They did finish in 17th place, clear of relegation but a long way off the play-off spots.
The summer always brings new hope, but a poor start to the season seems to have dashed much of that.
Forest sit bottom of the Championship as the only team to lose their opening four consecutive matches. The defeat to Wolves in the cup highlights their issues.
Garner faces a real challenge to help Forest turn their form around. If he can do so, then it will reflect very well on him, but it won’t be easy.
This weekend they take on rivals Derby County, a team Garner scored against last season.
The match could be the type of game to make or break Forest’s season – a win could lift confidence, and a loss would confirm a mini-crisis.
No manager’s job is safe
One of the attractions of re-signing for Nottingham Forest on loan for Garner was the stability.
The stability of a club he knew, teammates he knew, and most importantly, a manager who believed in him.
While Forest boss Chris Hughton has a well-earned good reputation, his job could be at risk if the team’s slide continues.
Lose to Derby at the weekend and follow that up with defeats to Cardiff, Middlesbrough and Huddersfield after the break and Hughton could be in an impossible situation.
Garner’s loan spell at Watford last season was impacted negatively by a managerial change, with the Hornets’ choice of replacement not taking a liking to him and taking him out of the starting XI and moving him to the bench.
This is the risk facing Garner at present at Forest if the club cannot turn their form around.
It is better than sitting in the stands or on the bench for United, Garner wanted to play football and wanted a challenge, and it appears like he is going to get one.
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