Nottingham Forest loanee Djed Spence took to Twitter yesterday evening to express his excitement for the coming months after a successful first half of the season with the Reds, potentially hinting that he could be set to stay at the City Ground.
Parent club Middlesbrough are currently going through a Covid-19 crisis – and manager Chris Wilder revealed yesterday afternoon that he was planning to recall the 21-year-old from his loan spell after seeing him impress in the East Midlands in recent months.
Previously being deemed surplus to requirements by ex-Boro boss Neil Warnock in the summer with Isaiah Jones and Anfernee Dijksteel available to the veteran as right-back options, Spence was allowed to leave for their Championship rivals on a season-long loan deal on deadline day in the summer.
Quiz: Can you name which club Nottingham Forest signed these 20 strikers from?
He has been anything but a fringe player in the East Midlands though, making 18 league appearances for his current loan side so far this season and establishing himself as a key part of boss Steve Cooper’s plans as a real attacking threat both as a full-back and wing-back.
But this likely recall could be set to end Spence’s time at Forest prematurely, a real heartbreaker for the Reds’ fans who have enjoyed watching the 21-year-old in action during his short spell at the club, becoming a fan favourite in a matter of months.
However, a recent Twitter update from the full-back has provided those supporters with some much-needed hope, seemingly focusing on his short-term future with the East Midlands side as he looks towards the coming months.
Posting a photo of him in a Forest shirt, and with the club tagged in the post, he wrote: “Last six months of 2021 has been special.
“Next year it’s only going to get better.New Year, Same Goals! Let’s get to work”
Spence has been just as crucial to the Reds’ cause going forwards as he has in defence, so they will need to retain him if they want to give themselves the very best chance of continuing their rise and forcing their way into the promotion mix.
However, the one advantage they do hold is the fact they have known about this speculation of his potential return for many weeks and already knew there was a chance of him going back to the Riverside with his recall clause.
They may need to bring in a replacement if he does go though, with Mohamed Drager yet to make an impression in the first team and Fin Back perhaps a little too inexperienced to play every week in the Championship.
Jordi Osei-Tutu’s injury worries are also a real problem, so they will have inevitably lined up potential replacements for both the Arsenal loanee and Spence. In the short term, this full-back/wing-back shortage could cause them real problems.
But how well they have planned for this window may determine how successful they are at plugging any gaps that arise – and this recruitment could be crucial to where they finish at the end of the campaign.