Lewis Grabban has played an influential role in helping Nottingham Forest fight for promotion to the Premier League this season.
The Reds currently sit fifth in the Championship table, five points clear of seventh place with only nine league matches left to play this term.
Recent results have cast Forest’s automatic promotion hopes in doubt, but a top-six finish is still very likely, therefore Sabri Lamouchi will be urging his side to arrest a run of only one win from their last six games.
Grabban’s goals have seen Forest soar into promotion contention, with the 32-year-old hitting the ground running since his arrival at the City Ground in the summer of 2018.
The striker’s efforts proved to be worthless last season, as their promotion push dwindled under the eye of Martin O’Neill, who was sacked and replaced by Lamouchi in the summer.
Can you get full marks on this Forest quiz?
But this season, Grabban’s efforts are being rewarded, scoring plenty of important goals which have often proved to be the difference for a solid, well-drilled Forest side.
Here, we take a look at Grabban’s statistics from this season, and see how they compare to last season – just how important has he been in Forest’s bid for promotion?
Getting straight into what Grabban is judged on most, goals.
The 32-year-old scored 17 goals in a total of 41 appearances – 3,015 minutes of football – last term, but in five less games, he has already matched last season’s tally.
Having hit double figures in his last three seasons in the Championship, Grabban is a master at scoring goals at this level, and he looks on course to surpass the 20-goal mark this term.
The striker has been used in a very similar way to which he was used under Aitor Karanka and O’Neill, leading the line in a 4-2-3-1 system.
Rather than having the likes of Joao Carvalho behind him as a natural number 10, Tiago Silva has been used as the attack-minded midfielder, though he plays slightly deeper compared to Carvalho.
This means that a lot of the onus is on Grabban to hold the ball up against opposition defenders, whilst bringing the likes of Joe Lolley and Sammy Ameobi into play.
The striker’s hold-up play has been impressive, winning 3o.1% of his offensive duels this season, registering only one less assist compared to last season’s total of three.
Lamouchi likes his team to play down the flanks and for his full-backs – Matty Cash and Yuri Ribeiro – to bomb on and deliver dangerous crosses into the area.
Grabban thrives when the ball enters the area, especially within region of the six-yard area, as he is a typical predator and most of his goals have come from that position this term.
The striker has already had more seven touches inside the box at this point of the season as he did at the end of last season, and if he keeps finding himself in those positions, the goals should keep on coming.
His age may increasing, but so is his importance to the team. Keeping him fit for the remainder of the campaign will prove to be all so important come the end of May.