Promotion hopefuls – continuity the key to Forest’s title tilt

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The reported tensions between Nottingham Forest manager Billy Davies and the club’s chairman Nigel Doughty seem to have eased following Doughty’s public declaration of support for the Scot.

And with Forest priced at 8/1 to win the Championship title this season, a harmonious atmosphere behind the scenes will be music to the ears of a club desperate for a return to the Premier League.

Forest have yet to sign any players this summer, though James Perch has been sold to Newcastle and Joe Garner loaned out to Huddersfield.

A bid of £1.5m for Cardiff midfielder Peter Whittingham has been rejected, while Davies has also been unsuccessful in his bid to bring Swansea’s Darren Pratley to the City Ground.

The minimal transfer activity is a far cry from the upheaval which took place last summer, when Paul McKenna, Chris Gunter and Lee Camp were among the key arrivals.

To some extent, however, the lack of signings could be a deliberate decision from Davies, as he searches for continuity between the side that finished third last season and the team he is building for promotion this term.

Forest are 9/4 to go up this season, and their balanced squad of youth and experience, as well as pace and power, is among the strongest in the league.

Wes Morgan and Kelvin Wilson are a formidable centre-back partnership, while Gunter and Chris Cohen are two of the Championship’s most enterprising full-backs.

The midfield is similarly strong, with McKenna dictating the pace of games from his holding role and close season signing Radoslav Majewski a major creative force.

The ever-prolific Robert Earnshaw top-scored for Forest last season with 17 league goals, and the Welsh striker is a very attractive 25/1 to be the Championship’s leading marksman this season.

Earnshaw is a proven goalscorer at all levels – he is the only player to score a hat-trick in the Premier League, Championship, League One, League Two, FA Cup, Carling Cup and at international level – and he will be ably supported in attack by Dexter Blackstock.

Who will be Forest’s main competitors this season? Middlesbrough are the 6/1 favourites for the title. See the full Championship 2010/11 Betting Odds market.

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Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.