Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper has insisted that the Reds need to be ready in case Middlesbrough do decide to recall Djed Spence from his loan spell at the City Ground.
Spence has been an excellent performer for Nottingham Forest since he arrived on a loan deal from Middlesbrough during the summer transfer window. That came with the defender having fallen out of favour at the Riverside under Neil Warnock and he was aiming to get more first-team minutes under his belt in the Championship this term.
The right-back has slotted straight into Nottingham Forest’s squad and immediately established himself as a crucial player for the Reds. Since Cooper took charge at the City Ground, Spence has been growing from strength to strength and he has played a vital role in helping Forest move well away from the relegation places and now potentially able to push for the top-six.
Middlesbrough though do have the option to recall Spence in the January transfer window, and it has been reported that new manager Chris Wilder is going to be taking a look at all of the players currently out on loan from Boro and deciding whether or not to bring them back into the squad.
Speaking to Nottinghamshire Live, Cooper was full of praise for the way that Spence has conducted himself during his time on loan with Forest. While he also insisted a recall is out of their hands and as a result, they need to ensure that they are ready for that.
He said: “It’s possible. Not just with Djed, but with all the loans.
“We won’t be the only club that will be slightly concerned about losing loan players.
“It is not something worth ignoring.
“It’s a situation we’re not completely in control of – not just with Djed, but with others as well.
“I think what’s important for us is, because we understand the situation, we have plans with and without the loan players.
“There’s cut-off dates in the January window for when they can be recalled, so whatever comes, we need to be ready.
“We’re very happy with Djed. He’s a good young player. He’s enjoying his work here.
“He’s got a lot of potential, and a lot of work to do to improve, but he’s going about it the right way.
“We’re enjoying having him, and we hope it continues. But we also know that part of that is not in our control.”
Losing Spence would undoubtedly be a huge blow for Cooper’s side in the January transfer window. He has made a real difference for Forest with his performances and it is going to be very difficult for them to go out and sign a replacement for him during the January transfer window if he was to be recalled by Middlesbrough.
It would be a surprise if a recall was not taken up by Middlesbrough and Chris Wilder in January because Boro have been struggling with injury issues at the back this season. Spence is someone that is also naturally suited to a right-wing-back role that Wilder is likely to deploy during his time in charge at the Riverside.
Therefore, Cooper is right that Forest have to be prepared for that eventuality. It is not something that he is not used to because he had to sell off some really important players from his Swansea City squad in his previous managerial role. So, Forest can be confident that he will be able to play for the right option to come into the side and replace him.