Steve Cooper is a miracle worker, but Nottingham Forest will falter in key games according to stats

Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper has become the club’s saviour this season, but automatic promotion will evade him if stats are to be believed.

Football has its fair share of fairy tales, with this season's most outlandish being written by Nottingham Forest and Steve Cooper. 

Eight weeks into the Championship season, the team who were fifth-favourites for the title found themselves bottom of the table after losing six of seven games.

Chris Hughton was quickly dismissed and in came Steve Cooper whose tenure at Swansea came to a sorry end after two failed promotion bids interspersed with complaints over his style of football.

Forest fans were indifferent to the type of football, formation or tactics used, they just wanted the team to move away from the bottom three.

The Reds were in a sorry state. Luckily for them, Cooper waved his magic wand and turned their fortunes around, with the wins piling up.

Nottingham Forest's (left-right) Sam Surridge, Steve Cook Scott McKenne and Jack Colback

Today, the team sit third in the Championship and could leapfrog second-placed Bournemouth with a victory in their head-to-head encounter.

Ahead of a game which could very well decide which team goes to the ball (the Premier League), we take a dive into Cooper's stats and evaluate his chances of success against the Cherries.

Numbers cast doubt on Cooper's magic

Steve Cooper, Nottingham Forest head coach

Since taking over at Forest, Cooper's numbers have been nothing short of exceptional.

The 42-year-old has taken charge of 36 games and enjoyed 22 victories, while tasting just five defeats.

However, his record against top six opposition tells a different story. With the exception of a recent 1-0 victory over Fulham, Cooper's side have failed to beat any of their fellow promotion rivals.

The manager endured a 1-0 loss against Huddersfield, two 1-1 draws against Sheffield United and took just one point from two games against Luton Town.

That's six points from seven games, with just three goals scored.

Win over Bournemouth vital for promotion

Steve Cooper, the manager/head coach of Swansea city

The Welshman took Swansea to the play-offs in back-to-back seasons, but both times suffered dramatic defeats to Brentford.

The first defeat came in the 2019/20 campaign as his men lost 3-2 on aggregate in the semi-final.

A year later, Swansea progressed past Barnsley to book their place at Wembley, but were beaten 2-0 at the home of football as dreams of Premier League soccer were dashed once again.

Thankfully, he will not have to face Brentford should his side be consigned to the lottery of the play-offs. However, with two play-off failures behind him and an appalling record against their fellow top six sides, you can't help thinking that for this story to have a happy ending, Forest need to beat Bournemouth.

That would put them second on goal difference going into their final game of the season. Forest then travel to a Hull side with little to play for and fresh from a 5-0 spanking at Bristol City. Bournemouth, meanwhile, entertain Millwall who have outside hopes of reaching the play-offs themselves.

Whatever the stats says, the equation is simple. If the East Midlands side win their last two games, they are up.

And Cooper leading Forest to promotion less than a year after his play-off final disappointment with Swansea really would be the stuff of fairy tales.

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