£7m duo mean business - is it finally Nottingham Forest's time?

Nottingham Forest

Stuart Pearce's summer signings of Michail Antonio and Britt Assombalonga are lighting up the Championship.

It's been a long time since Nottingham Forest were a Premier League side. Fifteen years to be exact.

Almost 20 years ago, Stuart Pearce spent a stint as caretaker manager, when the club slid straight out of the top flight and finished bottom. Years of frustration followed. Once European champions, Forest could no longer even master the second tier of English football.

But that could all be about to change soon - and Pearce is playing an integral part in the bid to get his beloved club back to the big time.

There were a few raised eyebrows in the football world when the former England U21 boss was appointed ahead of his new spell at the City Ground. Fans, though, were generally pleased with the return of 'Psycho' - and his return has so far yielded three wins out of four - and a draw that separates them from the chasing pack at the top of the Championship.

Yesterday, they beat a Reading side that had a goal difference of 0 before the game. By the time Pearce's side were done with them, they were -4.

And the success is in no small part down to Forest's summer transfer business; wise transfer business. Chris Burke, Matty Fryatt and Michael Mancienne have all impressed since coming into the side - but it is another duo that have so far stolen the show, signed for a combined £7 million.

Michail Antonio, who scored twice against Reading, and Britt Assombalonga, also netting against the Royals, have got eight goals between them this term - in just four games.

Antonio was one of Sheffield Wednesday's stars of last season and Assombalonga finished League One's second-highest scorer. It is difficult to believe others didn't try harder to bring them on board. Both look good enough for the Premier League and could be instrumental in getting their new club there for next season.

“The most important thing for me is not the result, it is how quickly the new faces have settled into the team,” Pearce told reporters after yesterday's game. “I have to give credit to all the players who were already here, for making them feel welcome. But the new lads have settled in really, really well."

In September, Forest face Derby County, fierce rivals and many bookies' favourites to win the Championship. What a game that could be - and both sides could potentially be far ahead of the pack when it comes around.

As long as Pearce and his new boys stay grounded, fans at the City Ground can have high hopes ahead of that clash, as well as the rest of the campaign. Indeed, with Antonio, Assombalonga and more firing as they are, it could finally be Nottingham Forest's time.

Can Forest win the Championship?

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