Chris Hughton will be hopeful of his Nottingham Forest side embarking on another run following Tuesday night’s important win over Coventry City.
A Lewis Grabban strike and Michael Rose own-goal sent Forest on their way to a vital three points on the road, arresting a run of three games without a win in all competitions.
Hughton will be hoping for more of the same from his side as they travel to Adams Park to face Wycombe Wanderers this weekend, as he looks to get a fine tune out of his group of players now the January transfer window is closed.
Quiz: Did each of these 18 ex-Nottingham Forest players ever score a goal at the City Ground?
Forest looked to have turned a corner after going an unbeaten run of seven games in all competitions, but defeats to Middlesbrough and Swansea brought them right back down to earth. Furthermore, despite going unbeaten in six games, only three of those yielded wins, and a gap between themselves and the bottom three was not increased dramatic amounts.
With the month of February well underway, we take a look at the dilemmas facing Hughton at Forest at this moment in time…
January saw Filip Krovinovic and James Garner arrive on loan from Benfica and Manchester United respectively, with the pair adding competition and much-needed technical ability in midfield.
Garner made his debut against Coventry in midweek, with the young midfielder showing what he is all about. Calm on the ball, efficient at helping play tick over, and not shying away when it came to getting stuck in.
It may only have been one game against poor opposition, but Garner has already staked a claim for a regular starting berth. He will be one of the first names on Chris Hughton’s teamsheet between now and the end of the season.
The question is, who partners Garner in the base of midfield, with Krovinovic sitting slightly further forward?
Injuries to Ryan Yates, Harry Arter and Samba Sow, as well as the addition of Krovinovic, have seen Cafu drop into a deeper midfield role, with Chris Hughton admitting that it is not his natural position.
Jack Colback has also recently returned from a spell on the sidelines, therefore could he be given a regular run of games in midfield. Fouad Bachirou is also back available after a spell on the sidelines, but he was left out of the matchday squad in midweek.
It’s an important decision which Hughton will have to weigh up. One thing is for sure, the sheer number of bodies in midfield needs to be focused upon in the summer.
Last season, Yuri Ribeiro was arguably one of the signings of the season in the Championship. The 24-year-old arrived from Benfica without commanding a transfer fee, and was one of the best left-backs in the division under Sabri Lamouchi.
But this season, his form has been patchy. He initially fell out of favour behind Nicholas Ioannou, but a red card for the latter in the 1-1 draw at Luton opened a door for Ribeiro.
He took his chance, playing a part in Forest’s mini-revival under Hughton, and even though a seven-game winless run followed shortly after, he scored his first goal in a Garibaldi shirt in a crucial home win over Sheffield Wednesday.
But Ribeiro’s performances worsened once again, before being sent off in the 2-1 home defeat to Middlesbrough a fortnight ago.
In his absence, Gaetan Bong has come into the team, and has been a solid performer for Hughton’s men without setting the world alight.
Whilst he may not possess the same attacking threat Ribeiro brings to the team, Bong is a player who Hughton trusts having enjoyed success together at Brighton. The 32-year-old has failed to put a foot wrong with Forest looking largely solid at the back in their last two games, and in doing so, he has presented a case to Hughton and showed why he should keep his shirt.
Ribeiro is back from suspension ahead of this weekend’s trip to Wycombe, but it may not be plain sailing for the Portuguese defender as he looks to navigate his way back into the side.