With the 2018/19 campaign now over, Martin O’Neill will be looking to rebuild his Nottingham Forest squad as he prepares to take them one step further next term.
It has been a turbulent time at the helm of the Reds for O’Neill, who has had his differences with a fair share of supporters this season. The East Midlands side, after a disappointing run of form, missed out on a play-off finish, despite looking comfortable for the majority of the campaign.
Once the pressure was off the Reds though, O’Neill guided his side to three straight league wins in the final three games of the season, restoring some belief amongst the City Ground faithful that Forest could be a force to be reckoned with under the 67-year old.
And, as O’Neill prepares to rebuild his squad ahead of the 2019/20 campaign, the club have released their retained list following the conclusion of a pretty wild season on Trentside.
It comes as no surprise to see both Jamie Ward and Stephen Henderson be let go by the club, however the likes of Panagiotis Tachtsidis, Jorge Grant and Apostolos Vellios will probably count themselves lucky that they find themselves under contract, otherwise they would have been likely to follow the same route as the duo.
Another player whose future at the City Ground is certainly up in the air is Zach Clough, who has had a major fall from grace over the last couple of years.
The midfielder arrived at Forest from Bolton Wanderers, having been a talisman for the Lancashire club since coming through the youth ranks.
Having netted 21 times in 48 league starts from attacking midfield, the 24-year old certainly looked to be a rising star, and Forest fans were delighted when they announced the signing.
Clough introduced himself to the Forest faithful in perhaps the best way possible, scoring four goals in his first eight games for the club, including an early strike against bitter rivals Derby County.
But due to various managerial changes on Trentside, Clough’s career has stagnated since that first debut season. He was sent back out on loan to Bolton in the second half of the 2017/18 campaign, but that simply failed to work out.
Then, the 24-year old was sent on loan to League One strugglers Rochdale last season, but he returns to the City Ground having found the net just once in only 13 appearances.
Loan spells are meant to reinvigorate a player – just look at Tyler Walker on loan with Mansfield Town this season. But Clough has quite simply failed to prove to O’Neill that he is capable of playing in the Championship, and the club need to get rid in the summer.