For the first time in the Steve Cooper era, Nottingham Forest were successful at the second time of asking when they took all three points home from Oakwell last night.
After a 1-1 draw in his debut match against Millwall, Cooper saw his side behind once again against Barnsley at half-time, but his tactical alterations did the trick against the Yorkshire side.
Cooper switched to a back four with Lewis Grabban’s 60th minute introduction and the change worked, with Philip Zinckernagel netting the equaliser and then assisting Brennan Johnson to give Forest the lead.
Grabban then sealed the victory later on in the match, with the whole game changing on his introduction.
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One man who managed 75 minutes in the match was Joe Lolley, who has returned to the starting line-up following Chris Hughton’s departure.
Lolley spent a lot of time on the bench last season under Hughton before suffering a season-ending injury, but it looks like he has a key part to play under Cooper and former Forest midfielder Jamie Paterson – now at Swansea City – dropped a message on Lolley’s Instagram post following their win over Barnsley which almost seems like a message to Cooper as well.
Despite not being directly involved in any of the goals, it’s clear to see what Lolley brings to the Forest team.
His fitness levels probably aren’t where they used to be – he’s completed a 90 minutes just once so far this season but Forest have numerous options to switch him with, as shown yesterday with Alex Mighten’s introduction in place of him.
Lolley is yet to get off the mark in terms of goals and assists this season, but it is surely only a matter of time before he finds the back of the net.
He’s a big goal threat with his striking on his best day but whether he gets to his peak levels from a few seasons ago remains to be seen – Cooper though will be hopeful of getting the best out of the 29-year-old.