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Nottingham Forest

Five years after special honour does Dimitar Evtimov have a Nottingham Forest future?

The Bulgarian stopper has played just three times in five years for Nottingham Forest.

Mathew Nash

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Back at the end of the 2012-13, a young Nottingham Forest player was awarded a special honour. Dimitar Evtimov was named the Championship Apprentice of the Year. Awarded to the best under-18 player in the league it has also been won by the likes of Lewis Cook, Ademola Lookman and Ryan Sessegnon.

It, therefore, seemed Forest had a top young goalkeeper in their ranks. But does Evtimov have a future at the City Ground?

Since winning the award Evtimov has not had it easy at Forest. He has played just three times for the club in the past five seasons. After one of those games, where Evtimov made a mistake to allow a Fernando Forestieri strike by him, he was publicly castigated by then manager Dougie Freedman. The Forest fans backed the player, believing the Bulgarian to be a real talent.

But in recent years it has not appeared that Forest have any belief in the player. Goalkeeper issues have been plentiful at the club. But loan signings, free transfers and Jordan Smith have all been preferred to giving Evtimov his long-awaited chance.

(Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

Which is odd, considering his loan club form.

Evtimov has enjoyed good spells at Nuneaton, Mansfield and Olhanense in the past, whilst spending a brief period at Port Vale last season.

Now 24-years-old he finds himself in a familiar position this summer. Nottingham Forest are short in the goalkeeping department but, once again, the hunt for new players goes on and Evtimov will likely start the season behind Smith, Stefanos Kapino, Stephen Henderson and a new recruit in the goalkeeping ranks.

His contract runs until next summer, but it would appear a career at Forest looks unlikely for the popular and talented Bulgarian.

Sports journalist based in Bristol. Previously spent five years writing for HITC Sport. Everton fan for my sins.

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Bristol Rovers

Nottingham Forest target Tom Lockyer won’t solve the club’s full-back problem

Forest are monitoring the 23-year-old ahead of the new season.

Max Cohen

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Tom Lockyer
Photo: Getty Images

In the past few weeks, West Ham United full-back Sam Byram has been linked with Nottingham Forest.

However, as Aitor Karanka realises he may need a fallback alternative to the former Leeds man, Forest have identified Bristol Rovers’ Tom Lockyer as another option, according to the Nottingham Post.

Although Lockyer is a promising young defender who has shone for Bristol Rovers, he has not played full-back for his club in over three years and therefore would not solve Nottingham Forest’s right back problem.

There can be no doubting Lockyer’s impressive abilities, as the 23-year-old has captained Rovers brilliantly and is one of the brightest defensive talents in League One.

(Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

An intelligent centre-back with impressive awareness and strong tackling, Lockyer was named Football League Young Player of the Month award in January 2016 and won Rovers’ Young Player of the Season prize in 2015/16.

In addition, the defender has been capped four times by the Welsh national team after making his debut in 2017. A full international who has caught the eye in the Football League, Lockyer would be an intelligent signing for a Championship club looking to bolster their centre-defensive options.

However, although Lockyer does have the ability to play right back, he has not operated in that role for Bristol Rovers since the 2014/15 season, when the club where in the Conference.

If Forest truly want increased cover at right back in order to mount a promotion challenge, then the club needs to target a defender who plies his trade in that position consistently.

Tom Lockyer is one of the Football League’s brightest young defenders and would be a welcome addition to Karanka’s squad. But to truly push for promotion, Nottingham Forest must target an out-and-out fullback with Championship experience.

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Newcastle United

Nottingham Forest fans should get excited about signing Jack Colback

The midfielder was a solid loan signing for Nottingham Forest during the 2017/18 campaign.

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Jack Colback
Photo: Getty Images

Nottingham Forest have been extremely active during the summer transfer window and the business done by the club has offered supporters optimism that the 2018/19 campaign might just be a good one for the Reds.

Spanish boss Aitor Karanka has possessed a ruthless streak during the off season and in signing nine players it seems pretty clear that he is determined to ensure he has the very best squad at his disposal ahead of the big kick-off.

According to the Daily Mail (19/07/18 16:09), signing number ten doesn’t look to be too far away, with former loan star Jack Colback seemingly set to re-sign for the Reds on a season-long loan from Newcastle United.

“The other players, they know because I told them I wanted to keep a smaller squad with players who will be part of the future. The others know they have to find a solution,” Rafa Benitez recently told the Newcastle Chronicle.

“It’s the same situation [with Colback]. He’s already talking with a club and then I think he will find a solution.”

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

The 28-year-old made 16 appearances for the Reds last season, netting one goal, and his performances helped ensure that Forest didn’t become too embroiled in a relegation battle towards the end of the campaign.

Perhaps surprisingly Forest supporters are pretty divided when it comes to whether or not they want their club to complete a deal for Colback, although it seems pretty clear that some fans are letting the player’s excessive wages at Newcastle get in the way of making a balanced case for his arrival on Trentside being a good thing.

It is safe to say that the central midfielder is on a Premier League wage at the Magpies but the beauty of Forest securing another loan deal for the player is that they won’t have to foot the bill for whole salary, whilst Colback’s contract at St. James’ Park expires next summer making him a free agent.

It would appear, however, that the fans who don’t want Colback to check back in at the City Ground are somewhat unaware of the actual quality he brings with him.

During his spell with the East Midlands-based outfit last term he boasted a pass complete percentage of 89.6, according to WhoScored.com, and that sort of proficiency would be a massive asset for Forest as they look to try and challenge for promotion next season.

A changing of the guard has undoubtedly taken place under the stewardship of Aitor Karanka, with average no longer acceptable on the banks of the River Trent.

The signing of a player with Colback’s ability will only serve to enhance such a reputation and could go a long way towards Forest making a genuine push towards challenging for honours come the end of the 2018/19 campaign.

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Nottingham Forest

Two pros and two cons to Nottingham Forest re-signing Lee Tomlin

The 29-year-old proved to be a shrewd piece of business last season.

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Lee Tomlin
Photo: Getty Images

Nottingham Forest manager Aitor Karanka pulled off a masterstroke last January when he secured the loan signing of Lee Tomlin who arrived until the end of the 2017/18 campaign on loan.

The stocky attacker performed admirably for the Reds during his time with the club and there was real hope from Forest supporters that their boss would bring Tomlin back to the City Ground during the summer.

Karanka has since gone on a spending spree and signed nine new players and unfortunately for Tomlin several of those new additions have come in the way of attacking options, which could hamper his chances of coming back to the East Midlands.

According to the Mirror (16/07/2018 23:09), the ex-Bristol City man is free to depart the Cardiff City Stadium this summer following their promotion to the Premier League, although it does remain to be seen whether Forest are in the running for their former loan star.

(Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

Here we look at two pros and two cons to Forest completing a deal which would see the 29-year-old return to Trentside…

Pro – Undoubted quality at Championship level

Tomlin netted four goals and created three assists from his 15 appearances in the red of Forest last season but it was perhaps his overall play which saw him claim more praise from Forest’s supporters.

The Cardiff City man possesses incredible feet and his build-up play is magnificent, making him one of the Championship’s very best creative players on his day, although some inconsistencies are perhaps evident.

There is an argument to suggest that Tomlin would get in most teams at second tier level and if Forest do manage to secure his services it is a move that would undoubtedly add more quality to the squad.

Con – Loan deal more likely

Forest have already secured a couple of summer loan signings and with Sam Byram’s pending arrival from West Ham United also likely to be a loan, it begs the question of where Forest would fit all these temporary players.

Tomlin’s excessive wage at Cardiff City means that a loan deal is far more likely than a permanent deal at this stage and that might not sit well with The Reds’ hierarchy.

Only five loan players can be included in the squad of 18 and it just doesn’t seem likely that Forest will pursue anymore temporary deals – other than Byram – at this stage.

Pro – Affection with the Forest supporters

One thing that Lee Tomlin did do amicably well during his loan spell at the City Ground was build up a rapport with the long-suffering Nottingham Forest faithful.

The Reds’ loyal fan base haven’t had loads to shout about in recent times but Tomlin’s arrival last season felt like the club finally had a player who they could relate to once again and his work rate and desire to succeed really shone through.

Whilst some Forest fans might feel that the team has plenty of players capable of playing in Tomlin’s position, he would surely be welcomed back based on his popularity on the banks of the River Trent.

Con – Not really needed

Forest have spent heavily this summer and in Gil Dias, João Carvalho, Diogo Gonçalves and Hilal Soudani they have added a plethora of players capable of playing in a number of attacking positions on the pitch.

Tomlin’s arrival would feel very much like the Reds were stockpiling players, rather than signing them to actually make a difference when it comes to winning Championship games of football.

Forest already have seven or eight players on their books who are proving difficult to offload and they can ill-afford to have any extra players kicking their heels on the fringes of the first-team.

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