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Cooper gets vote of confidence but pressure continues to build on Forest manager

Nottingham Forest’s poor away form continued in midweek and the club now sit one place above the relegation zone on goal difference. There can be no arguments, Steve Cooper’s men have been very poor on the road and it is only the club’s home form that is keeping them out of the bottom.

The knives were out for Cooper after his side lost away at fellow strugglers Leeds and there appears to be a divide amongst the fans as to whether the manager should stay or go.

Cooper backed by the Nottingham Forest Hierarchy

Steve Cooper was as short as 1/3 to be sacked by Nottingham Forest this morning. However, a club statement soon followed from the owner who has denied the Welshman is going anywhere just yet. The statement was made after Forest lost to Leeds last night at Elland Road, resulting in the Midlands club dropping to 17th in the Premier League and winless in eight matches.

In what was classed as a six-pointer, Leeds came out on top at Elland Road on Tuesday evening, coming from behind to win 2-1. As a result of their win, Leeds jumped to 13th in the table, four points clear of the relegation zone. Yet the outcome was far more damning for Nottingham Forest, who are now dangerously flirting with relegation.

Tough fixtures await

The man who pulled off a miracle last season to take Nottingham Forest from the bottom of the Championship to the highs of a Wembley victory is now under immense pressure to deliver.

The club are just about keeping their heads above water, but with just one away win all season which came against Southampton, Cooper will know he can’t rely on home form alone to keep Forest in the Premier League.

With matches against Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal looking a daunting prospect for Forest, it’s not looking good for the Midlands club and their fight for survival. As a result, they are amongst the favourites to be relegated back to the Championship after one season in the top-flight after a 24-year absence.

With Nottingham Forest amongst the favourites to be relegated, the bookmakers have priced up those waiting in his wing to replace him if Evangelos Marinakis does pull the trigger.

The candidates if Cooper folds

According to the bookmakers, Rafa Benitez is the 3/1 favourite to replace the Welshman, having been linked earlier in the season when Forest were struggling to adapt to life in the Premier League.

Last seen in charge of Everton, the Spaniard isn’t done with management just yet and the experienced coach would bring some stability to Forest, but would he be interested in a return to the Championship? He did so with Newcastle, and he’s not entirely ruled out of the conversation just yet.

Former Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa is next in line at 5/1, and he is yet to make a return to management since his sacking from Leeds in 2022. Bielsa has been linked with almost every job which has come available in the Premier League, although with Forest a similar size club to Leeds, and with a project in place, he may be convinced this is the right next step in his career.

Steve Cooper 1

Recent Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira is the third favourite at 6/1, with the former Arsenal player keen to return to management if and when the right opportunity arises.

Popular Reims manager, Will Still, who sits outside the top three at 8/1, has made it clear he is very keen to try his hand in English football, in particular the Premier League at some stage in his career.

Burnley boss Vincent Kompany is 10/1, and while it’s unlikely he is to abandon winning the Championship title, the project at Forest, alongside the available funds, could tempt the former Premier League winner.

However, for now, Steve Cooper remains in charge at the City Ground. The Welshman has nine games in which to turn it around at Nottingham Forest, else there are plenty of managers ready to fill his shoes if he fails.

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