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Nottingham Forest

Does Zach Clough have a Nottingham Forest future after tough 2017-18?

The Nottingham Forest player struggled during a loan spell at former club Bolton Wanderers.

Mathew Nash

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Back in January 2017, Nottingham Forest appeared to have made a fantastic signing.

The club snapped up talented playmaker Zach Clough from Bolton Wanderers.

The deal was reportedly worth around £3 million, as reported by Football League World, and it was deemed a positive move from the Forest management.

Mark Warburton and his staff had identified the League One talent as a player capable of helping the Tricky Trees in their battle against relegation from the Championship.

Clough had been impressing at Bolton for some time and Forest fans were hopeful he could go on to become a long-term option at the club.

Things certainly started off well for the player, who impressed during the second half of last season at the City Ground.

But this campaign was more of a struggle and in January Forest allowed him to return to Bolton on loan until the end of the season.

(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Joining up with the Trotters again was supposed to help rekindle the flame for the attacker. But his second spell at the club proved to be a disappointment. He struggled to find his rhythm back at the Macron Stadium and in April was even demoted to the under-23 squad.

So does he have a future at Nottingham Forest?

It has been a tough campaign for the player but Forest fans must remember one key thing, Clough’s age.

He is still only 23-years-old and Forest have him under contract until the summer of 2021. Whilst the 2017-18 season will no doubt be one to forget for the young man, hopefully the challenges have helped forge him into an even better player than before.

This summer he will need to work hard to prove to Aitor Karanka that he is worthy of regular football at the City Ground.

But in terms of a long-term future, the £3 million man should not yet be given up on by Forest.

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

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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Nottingham Forest

Ben Brereton fires timely reminder to Aitor Karanka on international duty

The Nottingham Forest striker scored as England’s youngsters beat Turkey.

Mathew Nash

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England defeated Turkey 3-2 in their opening game of the European Championship’s yesterday, with one Nottingham Forest player catching the eye. Ben Brereton raced onto a perfect through ball by Sunderland’s Elliot Embleton to slot home a cool right-footed finish, scoring England’s second goal in the process.

Nottingham Forest are well aware of the 19-year-old’s talents. He burst onto the first-team scene at the City Ground in the winter of 2017. After scoring an injury-time winning goal against Aston Villa, he soon became a fan favourite at Nottingham Forest.

He went on to win the Championship Apprentice of the Year award and hope was high for his first full season at the City Ground.

(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

But, as is to be expected, last season was a struggle for Brereton. He managed just six goals in 39 appearances, with his lack of experience at this level impeding his ability to find the net regularly.

To be fair to Brereton, Forest were not exactly the most creative team last term. Particularly under the guidance of Aitor Karanka, they struggled to score goals.

That has seen the likes of Lewis Grabban and El Arbi Hillel Soudani both signed this summer to bring goals to the Forest attack.

Brereton may, therefore, play less of a role next season and that could be exactly what he needs. The pressure of being the side’s main goalscorer at such a young age could not have helped him in his pursuits last term. With more experienced players ahead and around him it will be no surprise if next season is a far better one for the Forest prodigy.

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