Promotion hopefuls Nottingham Forest completed the first half of the season in magnificent form, comfortably occupying one of the much coveted play-off positions whilst claiming scalps from the impressive likes of QPR and Leicester City in the process. But a string of long-term injuries may have derailed the formidable City Ground outfit, with a number of key players such as Henri Lansbury and club captain Chris Cohen out for a prolonged period. So how may this affect their Premiership ambitions?
Defensively speaking, Nottingham Forest remain without long-term absentee and centre-back Kelvin Wilson, whose back injury has rendered him sidelined since last October with no expected return date as of yet. The recent permanent signing of former Hull City anchor Jack Hobbs has eased concerns however, along with the return of Danny Collins from a lengthy spell of injury and the loaning of Kevin Gomis from French Ligue 1 side OGC Nice.
Yet Billy Davies’ squad remains fragile in the wide defensive positions, with Chilean international and right-back Jara Reyes having to face a necessary relocation to the centre of midfield and Chris Cohen’s season-ending injury picked up in November against promotion rivals Burnley. Although the addition of Premiership experience in the form of Southampton’s Danny Fox has provided a degree of stability, the news of right-back Eric Lichaj’s as yet undetermined groin injury has further exemplified a severe weakness in the Forest squad.
In the middle of the park is where the Reds face their biggest obstacle however. Injuries to Sunderland loanee David Vaughan and Henri Lansbury have significantly diminished the creative potential of their holding midfield. Manager Billy Davies replaced the injured pair with the excessively defensive coupling of Jara Reyes and Guy Moussi in their two previous fixtures against Yeovil and Blackpool, an indication as to the lack of depth in this position.
Although securing a win and a draw respectively in these games, Forest lacked the dynamism and creativity that enables the likes of Andy Reid and forward Jamie Mackie to dictate play in the final third, especially against two teams whose form is uncertain at best. Without additions in the loan window to resolve the crisis, this lack of energy in the centre of the field could sorely inhibit their chances of cementing a place in the top six. This is particularly foreboding given that two vital games against promotion rivals Leicester City and Burnley eagerly await at the end of the month.