It was ultimately a day that unfolded, on the face of things, in perfectly usual fashion, with a man reporting for work as normal, and departing again, with a smile for the gathered media.
Nothing to see here.
But while Aitor Karanka’s usual friendly demeanour remained, along with his daily routine, that was not the only constant.
Because all of this was still played out to a backdrop of continued uncertainty over the Nottingham Forest manager’s future.
Cameras from Sky television, the BBC and the Post’s photographer were gathered at the entrance of the Nigel Doughty Academy for much of the day for a reason, not just in order merely to watch the Spaniard drive in and then drive out again.
The response from the club to reports, from national radio station TalkSPORT, that Karanka would depart by the end of the day, seemed perfectly black and white, in the form of ‘Nottingham Forest have not sacked’ the manager.
But it was hardly a ringing endorsement; a clear statement that his position at the club remains free from threat. And there was good reason for that.
His position has not be stable for some time. It has been very much under scrutiny.
Karanka is very likely to make the same journey through the gates of the training ground on Friday morning. He may well take training.
But there remains a doubt over whether, when he makes the return journey, it will still be as the manager of Forest. A situation that began following the dramatic 3-3 draw with Norwich City, feels as though it is close to a conclusion.
A relationship that has steadily eroded in the aftermath of a result that almost felt like a defeat, given the circumstances of Forest surrendering a 3-0 lead at Carrow Road, is now coming to a point beyond which any reconciliation is possible.
There was one change to the usual Thursday routine, with the club not staging the usual pre-match press conference. That in itself may not mean anything, given that they are occasionally held over until Friday afternoons, depending on the travel arrangements.
Whether Karanka faces the media on Friday will be a more significant barometer of how the situation is unfolding.
But this was also a day when Evangelos Marinakis was understood to have been present at the training ground, which is a far less frequent event and also holds significance, with discussions about the manager’s future understood to have been on the agenda.
Latest on Aitor Karanka’s Forest future
Karanka’s position was initially undermined by the dramatic, disastrous injury time events at Carrow Road. That, at one point, looked as though it could prompt a change in manager. The manner of the 1-0 defeat at Millwall did not aid his cause.
The morale-boosting 4-2 success over Leeds United appeared to have calmed the waters considerably.
But it may not have halted the tide of change completely, following an FA Cup defeat at Chelsea in which Forest defended solidly and determinedly, but rarely managed to lay a glove on their Premier League opponents – or to give any of the club’s next generation what might have been a valuable taste of the action, experience wise, off the bench in the capital.
It was a disciplined, well organised but ultimately cautious performance that summed up one of the sources of discord behind the scenes, with the club hierarchy feeling that his approach is too cautious, with the playing resources available.
Karanka has acted with dignity throughout more than two challenging weeks of uncertainty and doubt over his future.
Whatever unfolds over the next few days – particularly if he does remain in charge for the game at Reading – this is unlikely to change.
But we have reached a point at Forest where change does now look to be increasingly inevitable.
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