It would be unfair to say that Nottingham Forest haven’t improved since the January transfer window slammed shut.
The Reds are still shy in front of goal and haven’t climbed the table as much as they would have liked, but Chris Hughton’s side are a lot more competitive and, more often than not, give a good account of themselves against some of the best sides in this division.
They were desperately poor against Norwich last week, but draws against Reading and Brentford either side of that hint at the small progression made under Hughton.
Quiz: Did Nottingham Forest ever loan out these 16 players?
The January additions of James Garner, Glenn Murray and Filip Krovinovic have given the Reds a lift. Krovinovic was the first to arrive in the January window, and here, we take a look at his situation in today’s hat-trick…
How’s it gone so far?
Krovinovic has gone about his business quietly since joining Forest in January. The 25-year-old endured a tough first half of the season back at West Brom, and had his loan cut short by Benfica before making the short trip across the Midlands to the City Ground.
The Croatian midfielder has since established himself as a regular under Hughton, making 12 league starts and being left on the bench only once thus far.
The midfielder scored his first goal for the club in a 1-1 draw with Brentford at the weekend. He pounced onto a loose ball just inside the area, side-footing into David Raya’s bottom corner with a composed first-time finish.
Krovinovic is yet to register an assist in Garibaldi colours, but he has bridged a gap between midfield and attack and been integral in linking up play. He has accrued a pass accuracy of 82.4%, as per Wyscout, and is very rarely guilty of wasting possession.
What issues does he face?
Krovinovic faces very few issues on Trentside, in truth. He is Chris Hughton’s first-choice attacking midfielder in his preferred 4-2-3-1 system, and there are few candidates to replace him.
In fact, perhaps the biggest issue the Croatian faces at this moment in time is where he’ll be playing his football next season.
It remains to be seen whether Forest move in for Krovinovic on a permanent basis, and that’s a decision which will be made by Hughton and his staff once the summer arrives.
What can be said is that Krovinovic seemingly isn’t part of Benfica’s plans, and that has been the case for the last two seasons now. He was allowed to move to the Championship with West Brom and Slaven Bilic last season, and was then allowed to return to the Hawthorns once they reached the Premier League.
You get the feeling that if Forest wish to do a permanent deal, then the only potential stumbling block would be interest from the continent. If he wishes to stay in England, then you would put Forest right at the front of the queue for his signature.