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Derby County legend makes confident Nottingham Forest claim ahead of Huddersfield Town crunch tie



Former Derby County winger Alan Hinton believes Nottingham Forest will win Sunday’s play-off final against Huddersfield Town if their star man Brennan Johnson plays well at Wembley, taking to Twitter to issue his thoughts.

The 21-year-old has been instrumental in the Reds’ rapid rise up the Championship table, taking them from the bottom to fourth with his 16 goals and nine assists in the second tier.

Making the step up from League One side Lincoln City, where he also impressed before his return to the City Ground, he has been linked with several top-flight teams with Brentford even launching a sizeable bid for his services in January.

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However, officials in the East Midlands have been unwilling to part with the Welshman who has stepped up to the plate well in the absence of Lewis Grabban and Keinan Davis, both of whom have spent part of the second half of the season on the sidelines.

With his contract expiring in 2023, promotion this weekend could be crucial for the Reds in retaining his services for the long term with the 21-year-old yet to put pen to paper on fresh terms.

And former Derby man Hinton, who also plied his trade at Forest, believes he will be the key man in guiding Steve Cooper’s side to the Premier League if he performs well.

He posted: “If Forest’s wide right star Johnson plays well at Wembley, Forest will get promoted to PL (the Premier League).

“He is one of the best young players I have seen amongst many.”

The Verdict:

Johnson can be a real game-changer against any second-tier side and this is why Hinton is spot on with his assessment, even with Huddersfield having Levi Colwill who could potentially limit the Welshman’s effectiveness.

The big Wembley pitch could give the 21-year-old plenty of space to work with though and this could be the key to victory, with Djed Spence also able to stretch the Terriers’ defence with his threat down the right-hand side.

Able to be effective down the right-hand side, he and Spence could easily put Harry Toffolo on the ropes if the latter is left exposed at times, though that may only happen if Johnson is deployed as a winger in a 3-4-3 system.

Even if he starts as a striker, he has the ability to be a real threat and could complement Keinan Davis well, also combining well with Sam Surridge and that will give boss Cooper different options going into Sunday.

The onus will not just be on him to perform well though – but also others like Davis, Spence and a solid back three that has helped them to get to where they are. Joe Worrall and Scott McKenna have been particularly superb and could keep Carlos Corberan’s side at bay.

A 21-year-old Reading FC fan and writer who graduated from the University for the Creative Arts in the summer with a degree in Journalism and Media Production. Other topics written about include politics, mental health and education.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Derby County legend makes confident Nottingham Forest claim ahead of Huddersfield Town crunch tie

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