Attacking football, positive play and pride to wear the famous red of Nottingham Forest are not statements that have been too familiar at the City Ground this season. Saturday’s performance against Huddersfield Town, however, might just have offered an indication that the Reds are beginning to turn a rather large corner.
Mark Warburton’s charges looked in fine fettle in the glorious Nottingham sunshine on Saturday afternoon and comfortably brushed aside a rather average-looking Terriers side, with David Wagner’s men seemingly resigned to settling for a place in the play-offs based on their lacklustre display.
Take nothing away from Forest, though. But for Danny Ward’s brilliance in goal for Huddersfield, the Reds would have gone in for their half-time cuppa three or four goals to the good.
Forest oozed confidence and class, knocking the ball around from back to front with real aplomb, and perhaps the only disappointment from the afternoon was that the Reds mustered only two goals.
The gap between Forest and Blackburn now sits a slightly more comfortable five points and the game between the two sides on Good Friday looks mightily important for both clubs. Should the Reds collect a second successive home victory, then you would have to say that survival would be pretty much nailed on, given that defeat for Rovers would have such a psychological detriment on them.
Ben Osborn collected the man-of-the-match award at the weekend, much to the surprise of me and probably several others inside the City Ground. I’m not saying Osborn had a poor game by any means but Jamie Ward, Armand Traore and Ben Brereton were perhaps more deserving of the post-match accolade.
It was the performance of Ward which really stood out, and he showcased exactly why it was so foolish for the Reds to loan him out for the first half of the campaign in the first place.
Of course, Ward’s biggest problem has always been finding such performances on a more consistent basis, but when he is in the mood, he can undoubtedly be a real threat in attack and, hopefully, he can stay in such form.
I can’t finish off this week without congratulating Ben Brereton, who deservedly collected the EFL young apprentice of the year award during an awards ceremony yesterday evening. The 17-year-old is getting better with each passing game and, hopefully, he will continue to progress in the red of Nottingham Forest, where he will play most weeks, rather than get snapped up by a Premier League giant and waste away playing academy games and getting just the odd run-out in an EFL Cup game.
We’ve been here before many times when a bright, young prospect bursts on to the scene and, but for Osborn, they have all been sold on. It is vitally important that the chairman puts his trigger-happy finger to one side when it comes to the future of Brereton and keeping him on Trentside for the foreseeable future is an absolute must for Nottingham Forest.