Blackstock is one of The Reds’ longest-serving players having arrived on Trentside in 2009.

And, ahead of the opening-day trip to Brighton, Blackstock believes the close-knit nature of this season’s team could be the catalyst for success.

The 29-year-old told Forest Player HD: “We’ve always had technically good players but in terms of togetherness within the squad, we’ve nailed it this season. I think that will help us.

“We have players who will work for each other and that counts for a lot in a Championship season.

“We’ve done a lot of sessions and we’ve had a long time to nail down what we want to do in terms of shape and the finer details.

“I think we’ve got a very good chance of having a good season. We’ve got a strong squad with good unity.”

Blackstock scored in Forest’s first and final friendlies of the summer, against Odense BK and Aston Villa respectively.

The Reds earned a draw against Villa, as they did against another Premier League side in Swansea City, but Blackstock isn’t getting carried away by his own goalscoring exploits or the team’s results against higher opposition in pre-season.

He said: “Of course it’s good to score but the main thing is to get your fitness and stay free of injury.

“Pre-season isn’t the be all and end all. You can never replicate a Championship game.

“Brighton won’t be as good a team as Aston Villa or Swansea but one thing’s for sure: the game on Friday night will be a lot tougher than both of those games put together.

“The Championship is a very demanding league.”

Read more at http://www.nottinghamforest.co.uk/news/article/great-togetherness-2594166.aspx#KQDpAVWb5HIK7vy7.99