Ranting Red: Radical changes not required for Nottingham Forest to make the step up

Following another play-off heartbreak for the Reds, it would be easy to throw in the towel.

On the face of things, Forest have fallen at the second to last hurdle in consecutive seasons and are in danger of being brandished as ‘nearly men’.

With just one successful play-off campaigns from five attempts, Billy Davies is not far from the firing line, himself.

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Yes, he has a proven track record of getting teams into the top six and is a very good Championship manager.

But like his players, he too is relatively untested amongst the country’s elite. What Forest fans now want to know is if the lure of the unknown is enough to keep him in the hot seat at the City Ground.

Monday night’s defeat at the hands of Swansea was not the gruelling torture many had predicted going in to the play-off decider.

Davies’ team more than matched their opponents at the Liberty Stadium, and their second half display was worthy of a place at Wembley.

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It was a shame, therefore, their efforts came too little too late after two goals for the home side in the first 45 minutes, against the run of play, which undermined their efforts.

A bitter pill to swallow, but surely enough to tempt chairman Nigel Doughty to roll the dice with Davies once more, even if it is to be just one more season.

And for a man so conscious of his purse strings, it would make suitable financial sense.

Davies’ contract is up at the end of next season, and come the summer of 2012 there would be no denying his fate, one way or the other.

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The squad he has built looks good enough to go again and the second half performances witnessed against Swansea showed they have grown from last year.

They have progressed, their only worry is how much.

Apart from the out of contract trio of Earnshaw, Tyson and Moussi, another sign of Doughty’s business acumen, the rest of the team are tied down.

The only way they would leave is if a Premiership club came in for them.

But who would take the risk on Camp versus Crouch on crosses? McGugan in a 50/50 with Michael Essein in the heat of the battle? Or Chambers against Chicharito. You could probably throw Gunter into the mix, if you could find a better winger that begins with G than Gutierrez.

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The players have it in them to make the step up, but need help and ultimately that means investment.

Two consecutive play-off campaigns shows they are almost there.

Now is the time to back Billy, it will not take much to push this crop of players into a promotion fight rather than a play-off one.

We will hear a lot about the Transfer Acquisitions Panel, Committee or whatever they are calling themselves these days and many potential signings will be banded about the forums from ‘in the know’ fans with too much time on their hands.

But one thing is for sure, however, what goes on in the coming weeks will shape next season’s campaign, because if it wasn’t evident from last year’s shortcomings, it certainly is now.