Nottingham Forest have been consigned to another season of Championship football after missing out on the play-offs.
The Reds may have ended their season against Bolton Wanderers less than three weeks ago, but attention has already fully turned to next season.
Martin O’Neill has recently held talks with Evangelos Marinakis in Greece about the club’s future. There’s no doubt that the Northern Irishman will be expected to deliver promotion next season. He has one-year left on his contract to achieve exactly that.
After spending a substantial amount last season, it’s unlikely that the Reds will have the same funds at their disposal this time round. However, the core of a squad good enough to achieve promotion is already in place.
It just requires two or three quality players being added in certain positions. If this can be achieved, then the Reds have as good of a chance as anybody.
The Reds announced their retained list last week, which confirmed that they have 32 first-team players contracted for next season. This is before any contracted players from the academy are taken into account.
One of the 12 academy players that have already been signed up beyond next month is Brennan Johnson. Son of club legend David Johnson, the 18-year-old has made an impression for the Under-23 side this season.
He hopes that he’ll soon be able to follow in the footsteps of Arvin Appiah and make a first-team breakthrough.
He told the club’s official site: “I’m really looking forward to going on pre-season tour with the first team. It will be great to train and play with such experienced players and I’m just grateful to the manager for giving me the chance to show what I can do.
“Nothing is certain in football but I just want to show what I can do next season.
“Knowing that I’ve got the support of the manager and his staff is really good and it gives me extra confidence moving forwards.”
Johnson enjoyed a very productive campaign with the Under-23 side. He scored 14 goals from wide positions, which isn’t a bad return for someone his age.
As the Reds are currently short of wide options, Johnson should be presented with plenty of opportunities to impress over pre-season.