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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 Coull

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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.

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Nottingham Forest

Aitor Karanka should target reunion with Julien De Sart

The Belgian could be a great signing for Nottingham Forest.

Mathew Coull

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It seems as though Belgian midfielder Julien De Sart will be looking for a new club this summer. He finds himself in a state of limbo after a season on loan at Zulte Waregem from Middlesbrough.

Despite being a regular for the Essevee he will not be making a permanent move to the club. According to Het Laatste Nieuws, the club will not be prioritising his €700,000 (£612,000) permanent deal agreed with Middlesbrough.

The 23-year-old will now return to the Riverside, where it appears he has no long-term future.

(Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images)

But should his former boss bring him to Nottingham Forest?

Aitor Karanka was the manager at Boro when De Sart was snapped up from Standard Liege back in 2016 and was considered one for the future on Teesside.

Now, the former Belgium under-21 international needs to find a new home and a reunion with Karanka at the City Ground could be a perfect move.

The central-midfielder would be a welcome addition for Forest, who need to strengthen across the park following another mediocre season.

(Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

De Sart has impressed in the East Midlands before. He was finally showing what he could do during a loan spell with Derby County in 2017. Unfortunately, a change of manager saw him drop out of the side under Gary Rowett.

Forest, however, could offer him a second chance in the Championship and it would give Karanka a chance to properly work with a player he clearly rated just a couple of seasons ago.

He would be a cheap and known transfer option for the Nottingham Forest first-team squad. He would also arrive with a point to prove to his old boss Karanka and the manager at bitter rivals Derby, something Forest fans will certainly appreciate.

It would be an under-the-radar signing, but one which could act some genuine quality to the Forest midfield ahead of the new season.

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Nottingham Forest

Tyler Walker should leave Nottingham Forest and escape father’s legacy

The young striker may never fulfil his potential at Nottingham Forest.

Mathew Coull

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Being the son of a legendary footballer certainly brings with it some element of pressure. There are not many who have gone on to perform at the highest level quite like their fathers have. Jordi Cruyff, anyone? One young man who is currently trying to forge his own path is Nottingham Forest striker Tyler Walker.

The 21-year-old is the son of former Forest and England defender Des Walker. The 59-cap England legend spent two spells at Forest before retiring in 2004 and is considered one of the greatest defenders in the club’s history.

(left) of Oldham chase the ball during the Littlewoods Cup Final at Wembley Stadium in London. Nottingham Forest won the match 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Dan Smith/Allsport

So following in his footsteps was always going to be difficult. Walker has impressed at Forest but has also had to spend time on loan with clubs like Burton Albion, Stevenage and Port Vale.

The young striker has certainly had his moments at the City Ground and this season was looking promising for him. He scored four goals in 16 games for Forest but after Aitor Karanka’s arrival his first-team opportunities dried up.

Instead, he found himself loaned out to Bolton Wanderers where things did not go to plan. He struggled at the Macron Stadium and played just five times. Eventually, he was dropped to the under-23s and played no part in the Trotters Championship survival run.

So what next for Walker? Has the time come for him to leave the City Ground, for good?

The reality is that this summer might be the best time for Walker to move on.

Ilkeston v Nottingham Forest - Pre-Season Friendly

ILKESTON, ENGLAND – JULY 12: Tyler Walker of Nottingham Forest talks to Des Walker during a pre season friendly between Ilkeston and Nottingham Forest on July 12, 2014 in Ilkeston, England. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)

Karanka, it seems, is not a fan. The club has ample options in the striker position with Joe Lolley, Ben Brereton, Apostolos Vellios, Darryl Murphy and the returning Jason Cummings all options. New faces are also expected and Walker will soon have to contend with the emerging talent of Arvin Appiah.

Walker needs to start making a name for himself as more than just the son of the legendary Des Walker. Trying to do that at the club where he is so revered is always going to be a massive challenge.

This summer might be the perfect time for Walker to say he wants a move elsewhere. He could thrive in League One and become a star in his own right. But it means bidding farewell to the City Ground and the legacy of his father.

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Middlesbrough

Nottingham Forest should seek George Friend reunion with Aitor Karanka

The experienced defender would solve a problem position at Forest.

Max Cohen

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George Friend
Photo: Getty Images

Tuesday night brought disappointment for George Friend and Middlesbrough, as the Teesiders crashed out of the play-offs after a tepid 0-0 draw with Aston Villa.

Condemned to another season in the Championship, Friend should move to Nottingham Forest and reunite with former boss Aitor Karanka in order to fire Forest to promotion.

The signing of the 30-year-old Englishman would offer Karanka a top-quality full-back who has Premier League and Championship experience.

Friend played under Karanka from 2013-2017, enjoying numerous fruitful seasons as Boro thrived under the Spaniard’s direction.

The full-back played an integral role in Boro’s dominant 2015/16 promotion campaign, featuring 40 times as the club finished second in the league.

(Photo by Lindsey Parnaby/Getty Images)

The acquisition of the experienced defender would be welcomed at the City Ground due to Forest’s lack of depth in the left back position.

According to a column written by former Nottingham Forest player Kenny Burns, the left back position has been a worry for the club all season long.

Ben Osborn has deputised well, but is not a defender by trade, and Juan Rafael Fuentes’ performances were mediocre before he suffered a serious injury in late April against Barnsley.

It is clear that Nottingham Forest need a consistent, experienced left-back, and George Friend would be the perfect summer signing.

The influence of Karanka could prove crucial in prying the defender away from the Riverside Stadium, as the two have a close relationship thanks to their time at Boro together.

If Forest can secure the services of the Middlesbrough defender, then a promotion push might not be out of the question next season.

ddWith an experienced and impressive player like George Friend, Karanka’s side would be set to challenge for the top-six.

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