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’s slim chances of winning automatic promotion into the Premier League are all but over after they fell to a 1-0 defeat to Fulham at the City Ground on Tuesday evening.
The loss means that Sabri Lamouchi’s side are now sat fifth in the Championship table, and they’ll be eager to strengthen their grip on a play-off spot when they return to action this weekend.
The Forest boss used all of his five substitutes against the Cottagers, as they went in search of an equaliser on the day, but they couldn’t find a way through.
One player that was surprisingly an unused substitute against Fulham was Joao Carvalho, who has struggled for consistent game time with the Reds this term.
The attacking midfielder has made just 26 appearances in all competitions, and it remains to be seen as to whether he’ll remain with the club heading towards next season.
But is Carvalho heading for the exit door at Nottingham Forest in the summer after not featuring yet again for the club against Fulham?
I really do fear for him now.
Forest’s game v Fulham was screaming out for someone like Carvalho to come on and make an impact, but Lamouchi simply did not see the same picture and didn’t play him.
You get the impression that the Portuguese attacking midfielder is not at the forefront of Lamouchi’s plans at Forest, with him featuring in fits and spurts this season.
If a transfer bid came in that meant Forest can recoup a fair percentage of the outlook they forked out, then I can see them moving him on.
Tiago Silva has become Lamouchi’s go-to man this season, and Carvalho’s first-team opportunities just don’t seem present.
He’s a classy operator that should be playing first-team football, but it seems the City Ground may not be the best place.
It really doesn’t look good for Carvalho at this moment in time, with this latest snub added to a long list.
Lamouchi was doing everything in his power to breakdown Fulham last night and the fact that Carvalho is nowhere to be seen all-but confirms he’s not fancied by the head-coach.
That’s disappointing because we know the talent that the playmaker has, but, ultimately, have we really seen enough of that in two years in Nottingham?
The answer to that is no and serious questions have to be asked regarding what the future is going to hold for Carvalho moving out of this season.
With a gun to my head, I’d say he’s done there.
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It seems inevitable, in my opinion.
Carvalho has struggled to show Forest fans what he’s really about since his £13.2m move from Benfica last season. He was just starting to find his feet under Aitor Karanka, but the Spaniard was then sacked by the Reds, and Martin O’Neill didn’t take a liking to the player until their play-off bid dwindled.
After picking up an injury in pre-season, he’s almost been playing catch-up ever since, and he has been unable to properly break into Sabri Lamouchi’s plans.
Carvalho is a luxury player, and naturally, he dips in and out of form, but it’s tough as he can often change the game with one piece of brilliance.
Lamouchi will want to strengthen his squad this summer regardless of whether they win promotion or not, and Carvalho is likely to be one of the players who will generate the most income if he is to leave.