OPINION: Nottingham Forest lack reliable and quality players
Nottingham Forest previous two games have proven what the side is so desperately lacking '“ core, reliable and talented players.
Strong successful teams are built around several experienced and passionate players that are constant starters in the match day line-ups and after some dire performances over the course of the season a massive clear out of deadwood in the summer is needed to achieve that.
Forest do have a handful of players that are regulars in the match day squads but most lack the qualities and traits that other successful players have, therefore not reassuring fans that they are good enough to take them up to the Premier League.
The Reds have struggled to cement a permanent starting 11 over the season and many players have been switched and swapped out of it, most of which have not convinced the Forest faithful that they are worthy of wearing the shirt.
Plenty of players have only managed to muster up half engaged and disinterested performances and when they go behind early in a fixture they lose their discipline and composure to draw themselves level.
Michael Mancienne, Matt Mills, and Danny Fox have been some of the biggest culprits of this and are prime examples of players that are holding the club back.
They play sloppy passes forward and back, leaving their goalkeeper in jeopardy, and have been responsible for many of the goals that have been conceded this season.
Forest embarrassingly lost 3-0 at home to Preston North End on Tuesday night, which saw a majority of the 22,000 fans leave long before the final whistle, and the players leave the pitch to a chorus of boos.
Mancienne was both a fault for the first and third goal of the evening and has not done anything to persuade his critics he is an asset in the squad.
The first goal was down to a defensive mix up from the stand in captain which allowed Billy Bodin to open the scoring, and the third was penalty after he brought Bodin down in the box.
He weakens his talented centre back partner Joe Worrall and doesn’t possess any captain or leadership abilities that the team needs.
If Aitor Karanka is to move his team forward and push for promotion next season, Mancienne isn’t the quality centre back that can contribute to that.
Another position that needs some serious attention during the next transfer window is the strike force.
After the sale of Britt Assombalonga in the summer Forest have struggled to find a regular and reliable number nine with all five strikers having a go to claim it as its own.
Daryl Murphy, Apostolos Vellios, Ben Brereton, Tyler Walker and Jason Cummings (who is now on loan to Rangers for the remainder of the season) have only provided 14 league goals between so far this campaign, a statistic that isn’t promotion worthy.
Out of the five forwards mentioned beforehand the only player worthy of squad place next season and chance to help build this spine in the squad is the 18-year-old Brereton.
He is young, pacey, and passionate and knows what it is to wear the shirt. He is an academy product and will put in a shift when required, whereas the other options can go missing in games that require their attention the most. The club has seen enough of those strikers over the years to know first-hand that these types of players are not good enough.
Successful teams also having an exciting substitutes bench full of players fighting and pressuring for their spot in the starting 11. Six outfield players that the manager can rely upon to bring on and change the game in their sides favour – another key factor Forest are lacking.
Jamie Ward, Andreas Bouchalakis, and Zach Clough have all featured heavily on the bench this season and have had little influence on a game when they are introduced.
Ward and Clough have been easily muscled of the ball and not created any attack to earn their team the three points.
They have proven that they are talented individuals but they are simply not working well for the Forest team and are be amongst the list Karanka should consider moving on in the summer.
This championship season has separated the men and the boys in the team and ironically, it’s the younger players that have proven their quality and stepped to prove they’re the only ones that are worth carrying forward into next year’s side.