Ten games in to the season seems a fair time to take the league table seriously. It's no longer just a 'form table' and it's hard to argue that teams aren't where they deserve to be in the reckoning.
So, what does it show us? Forest sit in 11th on 15 points, five places, four goals and one point outside of the top six. Three wins, six draws and one defeat looks, to me at least, a pretty solid start and allows the club to continue to harness the positivity brought about through this summer's massive season ticket sales.
It's always telling how quickly a narrative can turn in this league. Three games ago our record was one win, five draws and one defeat. The glass half full, Karanka advocates among the fanbase could trumpet this as 'just one defeat', while the glass half empty doubters could point to 'just one win'. In a febrile, impatient world, it could have gone either way.
That's what made those back-to-back home games so important, with wins against Sheffield Wednesday and Rotherham shifting the narrative to the 'half full' crowd. Indeed, the most optimistic of those fans can now throw in the league cup victories and hail the fact we've seen just one defeat in 13 this season.
Yet, the back-to-back home wins did show the importance of victories when it comes to controlling the narrative. Draws can merely be added to the pile of 'winless' or 'undefeated' streaks but won't alone prove decisive. Turning those draws into victories is key if we're to build on this start. It's why we're 11th and no higher.
You can never rest on your laurels, particularly at this stage of the season when the international breaks create intense mini runs of games. A draw against Millwall and a defeat to Middlesbrough and people would quickly point to 'three games without a win and spend two weeks feeling the pressure of the impending visit of Norwich City.
When considering the start to this season, it's also instructive to look at where we've come from. A haul of 15 points is actually our third best tally from the opening ten games since we returned to the second tier in the 2008/09 season. It's two points better off than both of the two play-off campaigns overseen by Billy Davies, and bettered only by Billy Mark II and Stuart Pearce - both seasons in which our start faded away badly.
Indeed, in each of the last three seasons we've ended up with 12 points from ten games. While we're all hoping for better this season, we can't ignore just how far we've got to climb and the mediocrity that needs to be shaken off. We're probably trying to make three seasons progress in one here - although the owners may feel that their investment is enough to fast forward us to a promotion push this time around.
Here's our 'starters for ten' since 2008/09 in full:
- 2008/09 (Colin Calderwood): W1 D2 L7 5pts 24th
- 2009/10 (Billy Davies): W3 D4 L3 13pts 14th
- 2010/11 (Billy Davies): W2 D7 L1 13pts 11th
- 2011/12 (Steve McClaren): W2 D2 L6 8pts 21st
- 2012/13 (Sean O'Driscoll): W3 D5 L2 14pts 12th
- 2013/14 (Billy Davies): W5 D4 L1 19pts 4th
- 2014/15 (Stuart Pearce): W5 D5 L0 20pts 2nd
- 2015/16 (Dougie Freedman): W3 D3 L4 12pts 13th
- 2016/17 (Phillippe Montanier): W3 D3 L4 12pts 15th
- 2017/18 (Mark Warburton): W4 D0 L6 12pts 16th
- 2018/19 (Aitor Karanka): W3 D6 L1 15pts 11th
Set against our recent record, therefore, this season does stack up favourably. The league position and proximity to the top six is surely good enough too, especially now that the team selection appears to be relatively settled. We're also one point better off than Fulham were this time last season, for example. Performances have been promising, without always being convincing. The team has shown some character - and the squad depth has come in handy, with subs helping to turn games around.
The foundations have, therefore, been laid for a decent campaign. The challenge now is to ensure that we build on this - rather than slip backwards - and turn draws into victories. Let's hope the glass is still half full in ten more games time.