Speculative times

Ahead of any real developments, the 2018/19 season is still very much the unknown — and when we don’t know anything for sure, we can only speculate

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It’s that time of the year when speculation is rife, rumours abound and what ifs, maybes and mights come to the fore.

The constant change at Nottingham Forest means this more often the case than not. But while the club’s communication is better than it has been in years, we still don’t really know what to expect.

Well-informed journalists are often a good gauge of what plans are, but plans don’t always come to fruition, things change and third parties affect outcomes. And, dare I say it, agendas exist – whether it’s managers, players, agents, etc.

Twitter and forums (and the pub), as ever, are hot debating grounds with many quick to judge. Except judging second-information is always a fraught business.

Are we going from restricted spending to boom-and-bust? Are we slipping back into old habits and gambling everything on promotion? Are we abandoning any hope of bringing through players from the Academy?

Well, evidently the new regime is serious about promotion — we’ve all heard that before, but in reality we all are. Yet targeting a top six finish is what every club wants; it’s more a question of how.

We’re currently 8/1 for promotion — behind the likes of Stoke, West Brom, Middlesbrough, Swansea and Aston Villa — but you might be more inclined to back England to qualify for World Cup Round of 16 at 2/1.

There’s no evidence that we intend to throw all caution to the wind. What is clear is that Aitor Karanka has a good idea as to what needs to happen to the squad.

How that manifests itself is yet to be seen — are we going to spend £13m on João Carvalho? — and a further transfer window or two might be realistic to really turn us into a force to be reckoned with. Of course the Championship is never predictable — blend the right balance of players, avoid injuries and time your winning run to perfection… splashing cash guarantees nothing.

How we go about it is never going to quite be how everyone wants to do it, but having a plan you believe in and sticking to it is what real leadership is; and it feels like that’s what we’ve got.