Nottingham Forest hunt for possible Cooper successor with Lopetegui on list | Nottingham Forest
Steve Cooper is expected to take charge of Nottingham Forest’s match at Wolves on Saturday as the club’s hierarchy continue to explore possible successors, with Julen Lopetegui among the managers on their radar.
Cooper’s position is extremely precarious after Wednesday’s humiliating 5-0 loss at Fulham, a fourth straight defeat. Cooper said he was “embarrassed” to receive the almost universal backing of the away supporters who sang the Welshman’s name at full-time.
Evangelos Marinakis, the Forest owner, holds grave concerns about the direction of travel under Cooper. Forest are six points above the relegation zone after one win in 11 games since September. Marinakis also owns Olympiakos and this week sacked Diego Martínez with the club fourth in the Greek top division but in recent weeks he has been encouraged to give Cooper time.
It is not the first time Cooper has been under significant pressure but there is a frustration at Forest that they are underachieving after investing more than £100m in the squad in the summer. They sanctioned the £47m sale of Brennan Johnson to Tottenham to ensure they hit financial fair play targets.
Forest handed Cooper a new contract in October last year after five straight defeats but he is under renewed scrutiny after losses to West Ham, Brighton, Everton and Fulham. Forest hoped Cooper would turn things around, starting against Fulham.
Lopetegui is out of work after leaving Wolves on the eve of the season. Forest are also thought to retain an interest in the former Eintracht Frankfurt manager Oliver Glasner.
Cooper held his pre-match press conference on Thursday as scheduled. Asked whether he believed the Wolves game could be pivotal to his future, Cooper replied: “It is not a thought process I believe in using. Of course, we are disappointed with the results, particularly the one last night and the performance, but more than ever you have to show belief and character in what you want to be and who are you are and what you stand for and what the club and the supporters need to see.”