Steve Cooper has enjoyed an encouraging start to life as Nottingham Forest manager with the Reds having won back-to-back games in the Championship heading into the international break.
That has meant that the Reds have taken seven points from their first three matches under Cooper, after they finally got their season up and running with a much-needed win at Huddersfield Town following Chris Hughton’s departure.
It seems as though Cooper is going to be sticking with the 3-4-2-1 formation that Steven Reid implemented in caretaker charge at Huddersfield to try and find an alternative way to get more out of Nottingham Forest’s squad.
On the face of it, that should provide a potential lifeline for Joao Carvalho at Nottingham Forest. The new set-up allows the Reds to potentially play with two number tens or attacking players tasked with supplying either Lewis Grabban or Lyle Taylor whilst adding a few goals themselves.
Having said that, Cooper has so far not handed Carvalho any game time since he took over at the City Ground.
The likes of Brennan Johnson, Joe Lolley, Philip Zinckernagel and Alex Mighten have been selected to either start or come off the bench ahead of the 24-year-old.
There was some frustration aired at Hughton for the way that he handled Carvalho’s situation at Nottingham Forest, and after scoring twice against Bradford City in the League Cup in August there were some fans believing he deserved a run of games in the league.
However, Carvalho has now found himself in a position under three different managers, Sabri Lamouchi, Hughton and now Cooper where other options in the Reds’ squad have been preferred over him consistently.
There was hope that the 24-year-old’s return from his loan spell with Almeria last season could be the kick start for a new chapter in his Nottingham Forest career where he would finally be able to showcase his talent on a consistent basis.
Quiz: Have Nottingham Forest ever been involved in these 18 scenarios?
It seems though that he is down the pecking order under Cooper already, although there is still a lot of time for him to change that with his performances in training.
The issue is that Carvalho’s five-year deal that he signed when joining the Reds in the summer of 2018 expires at the end of next season. Therefore, Forest need to start coming to a decision over whether they feel he is worthy of a new deal or whether they have to sell him to avoid losing him for nothing.
Cooper needs to decide whether Carvalho is going to be able to be a key player under his management of the club. If not then the next two transfer windows needs to be the ones where Forest move to try and find a buyer for him.
Undoubtedly Carvalho has shown moments and fleeting glimpses of class in a Nottingham Forest shirt, but it could be time to accept that the 24-year-old is not going to fulfill his potential at the City Ground.
The arrival of Cooper has to be his last chance at Nottingham Forest and it will be up to the former Swansea City boss to decide his fate in the coming weeks and months.