Costel Pantilimon, Jack Colback, and Lee Tomlin all spent the second half of the season on loan at Nottingham Forest, yet have returned to their Premier League parent clubs this summer.
Forest manager Aitor Karanka struck a hopeful tone when discussing the loan trio’s futures this week, with comments that should cheer the City Ground faithful.
In an interview with the Nottingham Post, the Spaniard confirmed that the club was interested in signing all three on a permanent basis. Crucially, the players also appear eager to remain at the City Ground, according to Karanka:
“The main thing for me is that all of them left at the end of the season, all wanting to come back here,” the Forest boss told the Nottingham Post. “It means that they felt really good here; they felt the atmosphere in the changing room and confident on the pitch.”
The news will surely come as a relief to Nottingham Forest supporters, as the contributions of the Premier League loan trio were impressive and added top-flight quality to the Championship side.
Tomlin joined from Cardiff in January and scored four goals and assisted three in just 12 starts for Forest, adding to his reputation of scoring stunning strikes.
Another influential January arrival was Colback, who played every single minute in the league for Forest after joining from Newcastle, except for the 3-0 home victory over Barnsley in April.
Watford loanee Pantilimon was another almost ever-present for Nottingham Forest after joining on loan in January, letting in just 14 goals in 13 appearances this season.
Although a personal issue kept him out of the squad for the final four matches of the season, Pantilimon kept four clean sheets and would be a great signing due to his imposing 6’8 frame.
Wages would present an issue, but if Nottingham Forest can sign Tomlin, Colback, and Pantilimon on long-term deals this summer, Aitor Karanka’s squad would receive a massive boost ahead of the 2018/19 season.
A full pre-season with the club would benefit the impressive loanees, and once they are fully integrated at the City Ground, the trio would play a part in Forest’s anticipated top-six push next year.
One winner, one loser from Nottingham Forest’s draw with Wigan
Hillal Soudani’s late, late goal handed Forest parity from an entertaining encounter.
Nottingham Forest struck late in the day to maintain their unbeaten start to the 2018/19 campaign with a dogged 2-2 draw against Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium.
Youngster Matty Cash cancelled out Nick Powell’s opener inside the first 10 minutes, before Will Grigg scored from the penalty spot to give the home side a slender advantage at the break.
It had looked like the Wigan man’s strike would be the winner, until Reds’ sub Hillal Soudani climbed off the bench to tuck away the rebound from Lewis Grabban’s missed penalty right at the death, handing Forest a share of the spoils.
After an entertaining Championship affair, The Boot Room looked at one winner and one loser from a Nottingham Forest perspective…
Winner – Matty Cash
The Nottingham Forest academy graduate was rewarded for an impressive display against Bury in the EFL Cup on Tuesday evening with a place in Aitor Karanka’s starting line-up for the trip to Wigan and he didn’t disappoint.
Cash certainly doesn’t lack confidence and he backed up his manager’s decision to include him in the starting eleven with a neatly taken equalising goal after Forest had fallen behind early doors, whilst the 21-year-old also won the visitors’ their penalty deep into stoppage time at the end of the second-half.
With the Reds now boasting a plethora of talent within their ranks it is vital that any player who is given a chance in the team takes it with aplomb, and Cash certainly didn’t do his chances of retaining his place any harm with this performance.
Loser – Lewis Grabban
You simply have to feel for Forest’s new £6 million striker. Although his performances in the first four games have demonstrated his ability to work hard and get into the right areas, the bottom line is that he has yet to net for his new club.
When Forest were handed a stoppage time penalty it was Grabban who stepped-up to try and salvage a point for the Reds, yet his spot-kick was met with a strong right hand from Wigan goalkeeper Christian Walton.
Perhaps rubbing more salt in the wounds for the Reds’ striker was the fact that it was Hillal Soudani, one of several players vying for a starting place in Forest’s attack, who pounced to tuck away the rebound following Grabban’s misfortune.
There clearly isn’t a need to panic for the 30-year-old just yet, but there is a real sense that the ex-Bournemouth man missed a real chance to net his first goal for the Reds on Saturday.
Nottingham Forest fans react to Matty Cash’s display vs Wigan
Karanka handed the 21-year-old a start following his fine performance against Bury.
Nottingham Forest fought back twice to claim a 2-2 draw away at Wigan Athletic to remain unbeaten in the EFL Championship this season and it was Matty Cash who caught the eye with a fine display.
The 21-year-old scored for the second game running and turned in a particularly eye-catching display after replacing Gil Dias in the starting line-up from the team which beat Reading at the City Ground last weekend.
Cash is fast becoming a real fan favourite on the banks of the River Trent and his all-action display helped earn Forest a share of the spoils from an otherwise disappointing performance at the DW Stadium.
The right-winger cancelled out Nick Powell’s opener after 10 minutes, before showing superb determination to win the Reds a penalty deep into stoppage time at the end of the second period.
Forest fans are sticklers for seeing their own academy products play first-team football for the Reds and Cash is a prime example of a player who has worked hard at becoming consistent in a position that was previously unfamiliar.
With Forest now possessing a high quota of attacking talent it is vital that players take their chances when they come their way and on Saturday’s performance, Cash’s inclusion in the team against Birmingham City next week isn’t open for debate.
The Boot Room took a look at how Forest fans portrayed Cash’s performance following the 2-2 draw in Greater Manchester…
— Matty Cash (@mattycash622) August 18, 2018
My bro ? ???
— Hillal Soudani (@Hillal_Soudani) August 18, 2018
Outstanding young man
— Paul Jennings (@jenningsps) August 18, 2018
Played well matty! For the whole game not just the last 10 mins like everyone else!
— ????? (@Bvsnffcsg01) August 18, 2018
Man of the match @mattycash622
— Matt Legg (@MattLegg42) August 18, 2018
Delighted for you ? thank you! #ThatLovingFeeling ?
— Nicola Louise Taylor (@NicolaLouiseTa1) August 18, 2018
You were 100% again today. No matter what result we pull out as long as the lads give it all and you and soudani today did just that once again ???
— @1tommywallis (@1tommywallis1) August 18, 2018
Best player on pitch well done!
— Jason (@jasonkelly847) August 18, 2018
— Steve Mitchell (@stevemitch82) August 18, 2018
Showed the gaffer your quality. Looking forward to many more starts this season.
— glitchedgardens (@glitchedgardens) August 18, 2018
— Jim Beckett (@jmjbecks) August 18, 2018
Nottingham Forest must loan out academy graduate Joe Worrall
The Reds have a proud history of nurturing players from their own academy.
Nottingham Forest have made a solid start to the 2018/19 campaign with the Reds winning one and drawing two of their first three matches, playing some eye-catching football in the process.
Having spent heavily in the summer it looks as though the club’s hierarchy have tasked boss Aitor Karanka with making a genuine attempt at reaching the Premier League for the first time in over 20 years.
Given the amount of money spent it does seem as though some of last year’s players might be nothing more than fringe operatives this season and that could see many of the players deemed surplus sent out on loan before the end of the month. .
One man who could fall foul of Forest’s recruitment drive is academy graduate Joe Worrall, with the youngster failing to make any of Karanka’s squads so far this season after recovering from a knee problem which saw him miss the back end of last season.
The 21-year-old has played just over 50 times for the Reds since making his debut in October 2016 in an away game against Reading and there has been enough from his performances to suggest that he can become a regular in the Forest team at some stage.
After his latest injury setback, however, it is vitally important that Worrall gets some games under his belt and after Forest signed Michael Dawson, Tobias Figueriredo and Michael Hefele during the summer, it seems extremely unlikely that the prospect will be featuring for the first-team any time soon and it might be in the club’s best interests to sort Worrall out with a club where he will play more games.
In previous years, Forest haven’t been blessed with the plethora of talent that they have within their ranks now and that perhaps means that some of the club’s very own products might have to wait for more first-team chances, particularly over the course of this season.
Worrall has the ability to definitely be seen as one for the future at the City Ground, but a loan spell does seem like the best option for his development, at least for the 2018/19 campaign.
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