Chris Hughton’s biggest priority at Nottingham Forest this month will be to clear the ranks and get players off the books.
Of course, bringing in a couple of players to add a bit of inspiration in the final third is just as important, as Forest look to climb the table and move well away from danger.
But trimming the squad and getting players off the wage bill will be beneficial in helping them address those issues, and the club will be hopeful of departures taking place between now and the end of the month.
Nicholas Ioannou and Tendayi Darikwa are the first two players to have left the club, joining Aris Thessaloniki and Wigan Athletic respectively.
But the fact of the matter is, two players isn’t enough. Forest still have over 30 first-team players on the books, and there are some whose chances of regular first-team football are incredibly slim.
Here, we take a look at two players we could see leave the City Ground by the end of the month…
Clough hasn’t made an appearance for Forest since appearing in a 2-1 defeat to Hull City in the FA Cup. That was in January 2018.
Three years on, and Clough finds himself frozen out at Forest. The 25-year-old didn’t make a single appearance under Martin O’Neill or Sabri Lamouchi, and is yet to make a matchday squad under Hughton.
Having flattered to deceive during loan spells with Bolton and Rochdale, too, Clough’s future at Forest is practically over. The only question is, when will his departure take place?
Football League World understands that the club are actively looking to find a new club for Clough to join this month, with the player’s contract set to expire at the end of the season.
It would make sense to try and recuperate some sort of fee for him this month, rather than bid farewell to him for nothing at the end of the campaign.
Hefele is another player whose contract expires at the end of the season, and is another player who is completely out of favour at Forest.
The defender hasn’t played since New Year’s Day in 2019 – a 4-2 home win over Leeds United – and his chances of first-team football look very, very, very slim.
He’s behind the likes of Joe Worrall, Michael Dawson, Scott McKenna, Tobias Figueiredo and Loic Mbe Soh in the pecking order, and won’t feature for the club again.
FLW understands that he’s another player who Forest are trying to cash in on before the end of the season, but whether interest surfaces in the German centre-half remains to be seen.