Roll the clock back just 18 days and City appeared to be in a bit of a pickle.
A thumping defeat at St Andrews closely followed by a transfer window that didn’t deliver as hoped and ‘crisis’ was being uttered as message boards and social media fanned the flames.
Rebellion was in the air; plans for the Carrow march were afoot.
But three wins in the space of eight days – the most recent achieved with an element of swagger – and we suddenly find ourselves in a better place. In second place in fact.
As Fergie so eloquently put it; “Football. Bloody hell!”
With only eight games gone it’s obviously too early to be planning the open-top bus parade, and let’s remember Neil Adams’ side made a not dissimilar start to Championship life, but at the very least let’s all agree that talk of the club’s imminent demise was a tad premature.
Equally, the concerns that were there on September 1 haven’t disappeared.
Until we see Nelson Oliveira in action there’s no way of knowing if we’ve edged any closer to offering Cameron Jerome some genuine competition and it is a squad with a slight look of imbalance but if after three wins on the spin you’re expecting anything remotely negative please look away now.
Two home wins, both of the lacklustre variety, had offered a timely boost to the points tally but neither had done too much to reaffirm City’s credentials as one of the favourites for promotion.
Yesterday, especially in the second-half, they did look the part. And they did it the hard way.
A Forest side that is clearly full of goals was always going to be a test for a back-four that has creaked a little and after falling behind in such disappointing fashion I’m not sure too many would have been betting on City conceding just the one goal.
But just the one it was to be and despite Wes having his first-half penalty well saved by Stojkovic, City delivered a second-half performance that even had the City ground faithful purring – albeit begrudgingly.
And it’s interesting that names we hadn’t necessarily planned on lauding this season are ones currently getting that plaudits.
Graham Dorrrans was very much at the sharp end of last season’s wrath and was right up there with fellow Scottish internationals, Russell Martin and Steven Whittaker, in the battle for scapegoat 2015/16. ‘Graham Dorrans – why?‘ became a thing on Twitter, as the Scot clearly struggled to make an impact in the Premier League.
But in the less refined arena of the Championship, and with his fitness levels increasing game by game, his quality is starting to shine through again – just as it did last time round in the second tier.
While he may have the demeanour of someone who’s permanently exhausted, Dorrans’ ability to cover the ground in the midfield is only usurped by his ability to find a yellow shirt with a pass; his range of passing being the best on offer in the current squad.
That he rounded off a good afternoon yesterday with a stunning finish to win the game was a just reward for him and one in the eye for the ‘why?’ brigade.
As Alex Neil pointed out post-match, Dorrans’ quality is such that if he delivers he can look a class apart from most Championship midfielders. He now needs to deliver on a regular basis and make that central midfield berth his own.
Jacob Murphy is another who I wasn’t expecting to be eulogising over this season – until now Josh appeared to have the edge – but he’s another who is improving game on game.
A winger in the typical mould, Jacob is going to run into the occasional cul-de-sac and sometimes he’ll give possession away cheaply but it’s a trade-off with the times he’ll skip past a defender with ease and make something happen out of nothing; his thumping drive that was tipped over by Stojkovic being a classic example.
But yesterday’s win wasn’t borne of individual brilliance. It arrived courtesy of hard-work, a team ethic and a desire to impose themselves on opposition who were brimming full of confidence courtesy of having won every home game they have played this season.
We have good players – better players than most – and if through commitment, desire and discipline they can afford themselves a platform on which to perform then they should, more often than not, come out the right side.
Yesterday said three qualities were in evidence and it showed, assisted by Forest’s attacking, gung-ho intentions.
For good measure, the squads’ togetherness – something else that came under scrutiny over the summer – was reaffirmed thanks to Timm Klose’s post-match Twitter six-pack-fest and for now we actually appear, at least from the outside looking in, to be a content little ship.
It’s funny what three wins can do.
“Never mind the danger…”