Nottingham Forest winger Alex Mighten has hinted his limited first-team opportunities are indicative of how well his side are currently faring and that ‘everyone can make an impact’, speaking to Nottinghamshire Live.
Appearing in 16 out of Forest’s 17 league games so far this season under Chris Hughton and successor Steve Cooper and missing out on the Reds’ matchday squad just once, this looks like an impressive tally of matches in isolation.
But he has been involved from the very off in just four of those Championship fixtures, only making his maiden start under Cooper in the final game before the international break against Preston North End and largely operating as an impact player under the Welshman.
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The 41-year-old’s change in system is unfortunate for the teenager, with Forest opting to play two up front in some games with no wingers and counting on the likes of Max Lowe and Djed Spence to provide the majority of their wide threat, both of whom have impressed during their spells at the City Ground thus far.
But it was Forest’s boss’ reversion to a flat back four that allowed Mighten to start on his natural left-wing position, a spot he will be hoping to retain for the foreseeable future after spending much of 2021/22 on the bench.
Speaking about his limited opportunities, the 19-year-old said: “I’m going to keep working hard, keep proving myself (to get more opportunities).
“You’ve got to do the right things every day, then hopefully the rewards will come.
“It’s not really under your control. You can only control what you do on the pitch and on the training ground, and how you conduct yourself.
“You’ve just got to do everything to the best of your ability and see what happens.
“All the players try to help each other out as much as possible, because we’re together at the end of the day. We all want each other to do well.
“It’s good to have competition, especially in the higher part of the pitch. It shows how well we’re doing, and that everyone can make an impact.”
You almost feel the winger’s game time will depend on the system(s) Cooper adopts for the remainder of the season.
Although the introduction of a back three was a breath of fresh air and proved to be one of the reasons for their early success under the ex-Swansea City manager, they also enjoyed success in their last match against Preston North End as they went with just two centre-backs.
Scoring thrice and keeping a clean sheet, their display against the Lilywhites is something they will want to build on and this is why another switch to the back three system again may be questioned by many.
However, the international break has given the second-tier side’s coaching staff the time to consider what formation they want to go with in their next set of games, before having an extended period of time on the training ground to implement these ideas.
Many fans of the East Midlands outfit were calling for Mighten to go out on loan after seeing his performance against Frankie McAvoy’s men, but playing with a 4-2-3-1 or 3-4-3 system may make him a wide threat Forest could do with utilising at the business end of the season. This makes him one player to watch out for.