Nottingham Forest are back in the Premier League for the first time since 1999 and a summer of big spending shows they are keen to grasp the opportunity.
Original article published 22 August 2022
A 1-0 triumph against Huddersfield Town in a tight Championship play-off final saw Forest end over two decades of stagnation and disappointment, with Steve Cooper guiding them from being the division's bottom team to glory within the space of eight months.
It was a remarkable achievement by the ex-Swansea City and England under-17 manager and now the two-time European champions will be hoping to avoid relegation and consolidate in the top-flight.
Forest have a winning mentality and a strong start could make all the difference - the Tricky Trees are priced at 4/6 to avoid relegation straight back to the Championship.
England Premier League 2022/23
|When||5th August 2022 - 28th May 2023|
|How to watch|
Selected matches broadcast on Sky, BT Sport and Amazon Prime
|Odds||Manchester City 4/7, Liverpool 2/1, Tottenham 14/1, Chelsea 16/1, Manchester United 33/1|
4th in the Championship, promoted via the play-offs
Any team who gets promoted to the Premier League has the immediate aim of surviving in the first year, before hopefully building upon that.
Forest will be no different, but optimism is swelling next to the Trent due to the transfer business they have been able to complete this summer.
England internationals Jesse Lingard and Dean Henderson are among the high-profile arrivals, showing the club certainly has ambition.
Meanwhile, Moussa Niakhate and Taiwo Awoniyi join with plenty of Bundesliga experience, so Forest will be hoping their new signings will first and foremost keep them up but potentially fire them further up the table and a top-half finish is rated at 6/1.
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Forest have a tough-looking first match of the season away at Newcastle United, with Eddie Howe's side having enjoyed a fabulous end to last season.
It should be a pulsating contest between two clubs brimming with confidence, though it will be a test of Cooper's management to see how quickly he can get his new signings to gel.
Forest are 4/1 to win, with Newcastle 13/20 and the draw priced at 3/1.
After Newcastle, Forest's first month of Premier League action consists of a home match against West Ham, before a trip to Goodison Park to play Everton. Spurs then visit the City Ground, before a visit to champions Manchester City.
It is certainly a tough-looking opening month on paper and that might set the tone in terms of expectations.
The last pre-World Cup fixture is at home to Crystal Palace, before Manchester United away welcomes them back on Boxing Day.
Forest's final game of the season is the reverse game away at Palace.
Cooper took over from Chris Hughton in September last year when they were bottom of the table, having taken just a solitary point from their first seven matches under the man he replaced, before winning at Huddersfield with Steven Reid in caretaker charge.
Very quickly he implemented the successful back-three formation that led to two play-off campaigns with Swansea and he brought the best out of Forest's beleaguered players.
One skill Cooper has in abundance is the ability to work with young players and improve them - Brennan Johnson was a revelation up front, while Ryan Yates was much improved in midfield.
James Garner arrived on loan from Manchester United and was a classy operator, while Joe Worrall thrived at the back in Cooper's formation.
His smart tactical nous and composed demeanour were massively influential in helping Forest achieve their dreams.
Ryan Hammond (Millwall)
Taiwo Awoniyi (Union Berlin)
Dean Henderson (Man Utd, Loan)
Giulian Biancone (Troyes)
Moussa Niakhate (Mainz)
Omar Richards (Bayern Munich)
Neco Williams (Liverpool)
Wayne Hennessey (Burnley)
Brandon Aguilera (Alajuelense)
Harry Toffolo (Huddersfield)
Lewis O'Brien (Huddersfield)
Jesse Lingard (Free)
Orel Mangala (Stuttgart)
Tobias Figueiredo (Released)
Carl Jenkinson (Released)
Gaetan Bong (Released)
Marcelo Valencia (Released)
Josh Barnes (Released)
Baba Fernandes (Released)
Sam Sanders (Released)
Morgan Thomas-Sadler (Released)
Joe Watkins (Released)
Mohamed Drager (Luzern, Loan)
Jayden Richardson (Aberdeen)
Ethan Horvath (Luton, Loan)
Brice Samba (Lens)
Tyrese Fornah (Reading, Loan)
Will Swan (Mansfield, Loan)
Jonathan Panzo (Coventry, Loan)
Fin Back (Carlisle, Loan)
Lewis Grabban (Released)
Riley Harbottle (Mansfield, Loan)
Brandon Aguilera (Guanacasteca, Loan)
Nicholas Ioannou (Como)
Xande Silva (Dijon)
|Potential top scorer:|
As well as signing a host of players to boost their squad, tying Brennan Johnson down to a new contract was vital as far as Forest were concerned.
He was their top scorer last season and brings a brilliant mix of skill, energy and pace to his game - perfect for Cooper's tactical set-up.
Defensively, Forest were sound in 2021/22 thanks to Worrall, Scott McKenna, and Steve Cook - a defensive set-up that appears well-balanced.
Even though he was signed for nearly £17million from Liverpool right-wing-back Williams will be one to watch as he plays a full season of top-flight football for the first time.
The Welshman is not too dissimilar to Djed Spence, who he will be replacing and Forest fans can expect to see big things from him.
There is a decent Welsh contingent at Forest with Johnson, Williams, and Wayne Hennessey almost certs to go to Qatar.
For England, Henderson may wrestle his way back into the squad if he has a good start to the season. Lingard is an outside shot, but given the depth of talent England possess in those attacking midfield areas, he will have to excel to be considered.
Utility man Richie Laryea may find minutes hard to come by, but he is a mainstay in Canada team and could be jetting off to the Middle East.