Andy Reid has backed Joe Lolley to make a quick return to the Nottingham Forest first team picture after four games on the sidelines before the international break.
Reid reiterated his faith in the 29-year-old, speaking to The Athletic.
The current Nottingham Forest U23s manager said: “I have absolutely no doubt about it — Joe can get back to being one of the best players in the Championship.
“Not a lot of players in the Championship have what he has got, if I am being honest. If you give him the freedom, he will show that.”
Reid was talking following Lolley’s brace for the U23s on Tuesday. Over the course of the 2018/19 and 2019/20 campaigns Lolley managed 20 goals and 20 assists in the second tier, but his numbers have faltered since, just one goal and two assists last term and none as yet this season.
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As a player who thrives off support from the stands it was not a surprise to see his form regress during the supporters’ absence from the City Ground, however with the club in this rut, one point from their opening five outings, the 29-year-old could provide the steely determination they need to arrest the slide.
It is just one off colour season after all for Joe Lolley, therefore Chris Hughton should still believe in the pedigree he has at the level.
Also mentioned in the piece, Brennan Johnson and Joao Carvalho returning to the club along with the signings of Philip Zinckernagel and Xande Silva adds competition for places tenfold in Lolley’s area of the pitch.
Despite Johnson’s clear promise and Zinckernagel’s impressive start, Lolley has been there and done it before at Forest and knows the league inside out.
With the scrutiny over Hughton’s place in the dugout increasing by the week, it would be in his best interests to go to the tried and tested assets within the squad, to which Lolley is certainly one.