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Martin O’Neill is planning for next season after Nottingham Forest’s latest loss

Martin O’Neill believes he knows what is required to turn Nottingham Forest into a Championship force next season after his side’s play-off hopes were all but ended by Blackburn.

The 2-1 defeat was Forest’s third straight defeat and left them eight points off the top six with four games to play.

Goals from Joe Rothwell and Danny Graham set Rovers on their way to a first away win since January while Forest pulled one back with an effort claimed by Ryan Yates, though defender Elliott Bennett appeared to get the final touch.

After three months in charge, manager O’Neill says he has a clear idea of the work that needs to be done at the City Ground.

“There are a number of areas to address in the summer,” said O’Neill.

“But you talk about Nottingham Forest and it is a lovely club, a great club. We have not been in the top flight for 20 years and I do not want this to be symptomatic of things.

“The play-offs are a distance away and we cannot talk about that any more. Now we will see what we have about us. Everyone will get a chance to show what they can do and we will get ready for next season.

“I do have in mind what we need to do, what changes we have to make. I have that in my mind after three months. We have got some talent here at this club, which needs nurturing and seeing through.

“I would not like to see the players who have natural ability go to other clubs.

“We have to supplement that with some players who can help this club achieve what it should be.”

O’Neill felt missed chances were key, with the Reds having 17 attempts on goal – but only one on target.

“We had glorious chances today and spurned them all, apart from one, obviously,” he said. “The game should have been out of reach. They were really good chances, but we spurned the lot of them. It is poor on our part.”

Blackburn boss Tony Mowbray is also looking ahead after Rovers ended their away-day misery that saw the club pick up just one point from six matches on the road.

“We have our own ambitions, which we have fallen away from in the last two months,” he said. “We have to strengthen and add depth for next season. If a key player gets injured, we want to have cover for him, as we move forward.

“We feel as though we have let ourselves down a bit over the last two months, because we were on the cusp of the play-offs. But for the last 11 games, we had won one match. We had a soft underbelly and were letting too many goals go in.

“We needed to acclimatise back in the Championship, with practically the same team that played in League One.

“They are doing great, but if we are going to be at the top end of the Championship next season, we need a few additions to give us depth.

“We have plenty to build on, we will look to strengthen in the summer again now. Let’s see how we go.”