This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Nottingham Forest host Middlesbrough this evening, and they will be hoping to register their first victory of the season.
Forest welcome a Boro side who are without a win in their last four games and are a side who are yet to pick up three points on their travels.
Despite a difficult start for both, Chris Hughton will be feeling the pressure more than his opposite number.
The 62-year-old has proven to be very successful in this division before but finds himself at the opposite end of the table.
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One decision he will be pondering over is whether or not to start Joe Lolley. The 29-year-old has often been the creative spark that has unlocked defences in recent years, but he has struggled to make much of an impact thus far.
We asked three of our writers here at FLW if Lolley should start tonight…
There’s every chance he should.
Forest need a spark and Hughton needs one desperately if he is going to be keeping his job any longer than the end of this evening.
This is a must win fixture for the Reds and it’s clear it is for Hughton, too, so I expect him to make as many ambitious changes as he can to try and shake off this malaise that they are in.
Lolley is an exciting player on his day and he might be able to help dig the Reds out of a hole – it’s worth bringing him in.
I think so.
Lolley has had it tough for a couple of seasons now, and has been unlucky with illness in the early parts of this season.
But he impressed for the Under-23s’ last week, and I can see him starting this evening.
The 442 formation didn’t work at the weekend, and I think if they put Brennan Johnson behind the striker, then Lolley and Zinckernagel will start out wide.
Lolley will be keen to prove a point and help Forest get out of this rut.
It is a move that may well be appealing for Hughton and Forest.
With just one point from their six games so far for Forest, the pressure is already starting to build on Hughton this season, so you feel he needs to change something to ease the scrutiny that is on him, and ensure Forest start to pick up the points that stop them being cut adrift at the bottom of the Championship table.
Lolley is obviously a player who has shown in the past that he is more than capable of making that sort of impact for Forest, and having come off the bench against Cardiff on Sunday, he may now feel he is ready to return to the starting XI after injury.
Indeed, if Lolley is not fit to play for the full 90 minutes, it could still make sense to start the attacker in the hope he can help Forest to start strong and give them something to hold on to, rather than him having to come off the bench late on at a time when they might already be chasing the game.