Nottingham Forest striker Lewis Grabban has singled out his side’s improving fortunes as the one thing that has pleased him the most this season, despite reaching the impressive milestone of scoring 50 goals for the club as he spoke to the club’s media team.
Joining the club back in 2018 for a fee believed to be in the region of £6m, he has certainly provided value for money as one of the club’s best forwards in recent years and scored 36 goals in his first two campaigns at the City Ground.
The East Midlands side’s capitulation on the final day of the 2019/20 season prevented his goalscoring record from being rewarded with a spot in the play-offs – and that setback seemed to have a detrimental impact on his team as they endured an underwhelming campaign last term.
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Grabban didn’t have the best season either, scoring just six times in 28 appearances as he suffered a series of injuries under former boss Chris Hughton during 2020/21.
With this, Forest scored just 37 times in 46 league games, the joint-second worst attack in the Championship and one that may have seen them relegated if it wasn’t for their defensive solidity.
The 33-year-old has managed to bounce back well from such disappointment though, returning to his old self with eight goals in 18 league games so far this term.
His last goals for Steve Cooper’s men came against Preston North End before the international break, scoring a brace in a comfortable 3-0 victory and taking his total tally of goals for the club to 51, an impressive milestone even for a man that has been exceptional in the EFL throughout his playing career.
But he put his personal achievements to one side as he reflected on a successful start for his side under new boss Cooper, seeing his side climb from the bottom of the table to their current position of 16th.
He said: “Being able to produce that type of return for the club is a nice feeling.
“It’s the first time in my career I’ve been able to hit that number for one club, so I’m really pleased with it.
“I don’t dwell on it, but it’s nice to get that milestone, especially in the timespan and the ratio I’ve got it in. I’m pleased with it, but this season, I’m mainly pleased with how we are progressing and starting to move up the table.
“That is the most important aspect of me doing well, because it helps the team. The better the team plays, the easier it is for me to score goals.
“Being that one at the top of the pitch, if we’re secure behind me and we’re creating chances, all I’ve got to focus on is putting it in the back of the net, and the players behind me have been great with that.”
This interview says a lot about why he’s been such a success during his career. He’s a very likeable character and that makes it easy for him and his teammates to form the relationships necessary for him to start firing.
He may not have been in the greatest form under former manager Hughton, but it was clear the Irishman wasn’t the right fit at the City Ground and this is why the striker’s underwhelming attacking record during 2020/21 is understandable.
Some rightly criticised him for shooting instead of picking out Jack Colback for a tap-in against Reading not too long ago, but it’s clear from these comments that he’s a team player and more often than not, he has managed to find the right balance between that and a much-needed selfishness to be as successful as he’s been.
The 33-year-old has been a real gamechanger for the Reds this season once again, something that was showcased at Oakwell against Barnsley earlier in Cooper’s reign as he came off the bench and altered the complexion of the match.
This is why it would have been understandable had he reflected on his own achievements more. But he knows he needs adequate service to thrive, something he fully understands as he heaped praise on his teammates.