Nottingham Forest may not be heavyweights yet, but Martin O’Neill has the Reds stepping up the divisions.

By his own admission, a side inherited from Aitor Karanka could have been considered a little lightweight.

Accusations of being too nice for their own good would not be too far wide of the mark.

Forest were trying to play plenty of football, but there wasn’t enough graft with the guile.

O’Neill spotted as much early in his reign and quickly set about trying to rectify those issues.

Among those drafted in during the January transfer window were three rugged centre-halves.

Bite

(Photo by Adam Fradgley – AMA/WBA FC via Getty Images)

Yohan Benalouane and Alexander Milosevic have settled quickly to form a promising partnership, while Molla Wague netted on his debut.

Daryl Murphy is also seeing regular action for the Reds, while the likes of Claudio Yacob and Jack Colback offer plenty of bite.

“I think that we have been described, through the course of this season, as being a bit lightweight,” O’Neill has said in the Nottingham Post.

“I think you are not going to change that overnight. But I do not just want big brutes in the team – I want players who can play and who are strong enough to be able to withstand challenges in this league.

“It is a really demanding league, there is no question of that. But, for instance, Ben Osborn is five foot nothing at the end of the day – and he is competing. There is a chance for everyone.”

As Forest step out of the lightweight category, they are probably now more middleweight.

More power has been added to the punch.

Bulked

 

The Reds are still lively enough to dance around the ring, they have merely bulked up a bit.

O’Neill’s side have become more Canelo Alvarez than Vasyl Lomachenko.

Whether they will ever rub shoulders with the likes of Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder remains to be seen.

That is the ultimate goal.

Sharpen the skills, work hard in training and take no nonsense from anybody.

Let’s get ready to rumble!!!!