Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper has revealed midfielder Harry Arter isn’t in his first-team plans at this stage despite seeing him end his loan spell at Charlton Athletic early, making this admission to Nottinghamshire Live.
Being deemed surplus to requirements by Cooper’s predecessor Chris Hughton, he joined the League One side on a season-long loan deal on deadline day during the previous transfer window, only signing for Forest back in the summer of 2020 but falling out of favour just months later.
He didn’t have much luck at The Valley either despite taking the step down, making just six competitive appearances for Johnnie Jackson’s men this term before taking up the option to return to the East Midlands on Tuesday.
Quiz: Can you name which club Nottingham Forest signed these 28 midfielders from?
Despite choosing to return to the Reds though, it was unclear whether he would be in their plans for the second half of the season with boss Cooper already having a range of options to choose from in central midfield.
Not only are Jack Colback and Ryan Yates available to the Welshman, but also summer arrivals James Garner and Braian Ojeda, with Tyrese Fornah, Joao Carvalho and Cafu all waiting in the wings to get their opportunity.
With this in mind, the second-tier side’s manager had a clear verdict to deliver on the 32-year-old’s future as he spoke candidly to Nottinghamshire Live regarding the ex-AFC Bournemouth man’s current situation.
He said: “He’s not involved with the first team at the moment. I know his loan is up at Charlton.
“The club are in discussions with him about what’s next, but he’s not one, at the moment, that we’re intending to involve.”
Arter is talented and there’s no doubt that he will be successful at another club in the twilight years of his playing career – but he’s very much part of the Nottingham Forest of old – and they are now looking towards the future.
So his plight in the East Midlands isn’t exactly his fault, but it’s clear he needs a fresh start and this is why a permanent move away would probably be the best option for both parties at this stage with little prospect of him breaking back into the first team at the City Ground.
Although there will be much focus on Colback and Yates, with the duo forming an effective partnership in the middle before the former’s need to operate on the left, attention must also be paid to the likes of Ojeda and Fornah, both of whom could be successful long-term players for Forest if the club can keep both happy.
That may be a tricky task with both having their game time limited right now – but that competition for a starting spot should give them the hunger to press on and transform into even better players.
Some would argue the duo and Arter should remain at the club with Covid cases continuing to affect teams up and down the English football pyramid – but is way down the pecking order and should be moved on this window if possible with the midfielder likely to be on a handsome salary.