As Nottingham Forest prepare for the dawn of a new Npower Championship this Saturday, there is one thing that is tormenting the minds of many reds fans along the River Trent.
That vexation is of course, whether or not the once proclaimed “Wally with a Brolly” will be given the players needed to complete his latest mission, and guide Forest to the destine which has so far been a bridge too far for many managers.
McClaren has not been afraid to change things around at the City Ground since his arrival in June, following the sacking of Billy Davies. And in new assistant manager, Rob Kelly and first team coach, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink he certainly as an array of experience to install into his squad of players. An experience that can only aid when times are tough this season, and believe me they will be.
Andy Reid was McClaren’s first signing, the 29-year-old will be hoping to combine his Premier League experience with that of further signings George Boateng and ex Fulham star Jonathan Greening. The three will be vital in the Championship campaign, but a quick look around the league leaves one thinking that more are still required.
In fact, it is clear that the tricky trees need to add more players to the bulk of the squad if they hope to challenge the likes of newly relegated West Ham and high spending Leicester City. Both have squads which look set to challenge for the top spots next season, and in particular those lucrative automatic spots that Forest hope to acquire.
Recent Forest target Wayne Routledge seems to have slipped the radar and tied up a deal with Premier League Swansea, and with a week to go others may follow if the reds are not quick to act. Another winger that McClaren is keen to sign is dutch star Wesley Verhoek, however he faces fierce competition from Rangers and a host of other Championship clubs.
While Forest seem unable to sign a winger, they are also blinking on signing a much needed striker following the departure of Robert Earnshaw back to home club Cardiff City. Long standing reds target Nicky Maynard is also wanted by Leicester City, the pacy forward as yet to be tied to a new deal at Ashton Gate, but Forest have not looked close to grabbing Maynard from under the foxes noses.
Andy Reid was correct in admitting in a recent interview that Forest must sign 4 or 5 more players if they hope to challenge for the automatic promotion places this season. Early signals are suggesting that Steve McClaren has the ability to guide Forest to where they want to be, he has the belief and the tactics, however many believe he still lacks the players that will allow him to do that.
Forest Chief Executive, Mark Arthur stated when McClaren was brought in that the board are happy with the current squad, and only wish to bring in a few new faces. They may have done that, and they continue to stress to Forest fans that these faces must be the right players and not just numbers, however that vital edge is still lacking. The edge I talk of is one that both QPR and Swansea had last season, and where are they now Mr Arthur?
With less than a week to go until Forest kick off their season against Barnsley at the City Ground, it may be time that Forest fans ask the board the same question the club asked them in their season ticket campaign last season.
We’re serious about promotion, are you?