Chris Hughton has hinted that he may use Lewis Grabban in a slightly different role in a bid to solve his side’s goalscoring woes between now and the end of the season.
Grabban came off the bench to score his fifth goal of the season in a 1-1 draw with Birmingham City on Wednesday night.
The striker stepped up in the 98th minute to find the bottom corner from the penalty spot, after Scott McKenna was fouled by Lukas Jutkiewicz.
Grabban was introduced on 63 minutes and was brought on to partner fellow substitute Glenn Murray up top. The striker led the line with Murray in a 4-4-2 formation, but without the ball, he dropped back into the number 10 role in a a 4-2-3-1 setup.
Forest have struggled to find the net on a regular basis this season, and their leading goalscorer in the Championship is Grabban with his five goals.
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Speaking to Nottinghamshire Live, Hughton hinted that he may look to tweak Grabban’s position in a bid to solve his side’s goalscoring woes between now and the end of the campaign.
He said: “The difficulty for Lewis has been he’s missed two big chunks of the season and probably been available for roughly half our games,” Hughton told NottinghamshireLive.
“What I do see in Lewis is an all round player.
“The best period he’s had (at the club), in terms of the goals he’s scored, was when the team was a bit more counter-attacking that relied on the way he played, and Joe Lolley also scoring a lot of goals.
“There’s no doubt Lewis is a very good footballer and he’s got very good link play.
“I think there’s some flexibility in the way we can use him – and not always necessarily as the highest one up the pitch.
“I do think he has the ability to play almost like a second striker that makes sure to get into the box once he’s released the ball.
“I don’t so much think it’s about changing formations, but certainly with Lewis, he’s a good enough all round player that there is a little bit of flexibility with how we use a front two.
“Filip Krovinovic, who has mostly played in that position, or Cafu, is a different type of player and will drop that bit deeper.
“But Lewis has got good enough flexibility in his game that we can use him in a couple of ways.”
Hughton may as well look to try something different between now and the end of the season.
I think it’s clear that the club will sign a striker this summer, as Murray is 37 and set to be out of contract, and Lyle Taylor has struggled for regular game time.
Grabban is a respected figure within the dressing room, though, and I can see him being a key part of the manager’s plans next season.