This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
So this came as a bit of a surprise.
Yet at the same time, it shouldn’t be that shocking when you consider the facts of the matter.
Alex Milosevic departed Nottingham Forest on Monday, with the club describing the move as ‘by mutual consent’.
Whilst it is not yet clear who instigated the move, the fact that the Swede was yet to make an appearance under Sabri Lamouchi since he took over might be an indicator that he was unhappy at his lack of playing time under the Frenchman.
So with him in the past, it’s now time to look to the future. Just where does this leave Nottingham Forest when it comes to the centre-back position?
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They now find themselves down to six centre-backs in the first team picture: Joe Worrall, Chema, Tobias Figueiredo, Yohan Benalouane, Michael Hefele and club captain Michael Dawson.
Now the last three men are all currently going through injuries, although Dawson’s is less serious than the former two.
So that means, for the time being, there are just three centre-backs that are ready and waiting to be called upon by Lamouchi. Dawson’s imminent return will take that up to 4.
Is that enough for Forest to last through the rest of the season? Not just in terms of the number of bodies, but in terms of ability as well? Let’s take out the four who have made appearances for far this season, and look at who Lamouchi has left.
Benalouane is a bit of a liability when it comes to discipline, with seven yellow cards and two red cards in just 14 appearances in a Forest shirt last season (via Transfermarkt). The same can be said of Hefele, who averages more fouls per game than he does tackles, 0.7 compared to 0.6 (via WhoScored).
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Whilst there has been talk that Forest should add another forward, they need to consider bringing in additional cover at the back as well, someone who can be relied on if one of the more senior players goes down. Hefele and Benalouane have proven they aren’t up to scratch.
Dawson and Worrall seem to be trusted by Lamouchi to start the majority of the campaign, and put together one of the better defensive records in the division, but with Dawson away, results haven’t quite been the same.