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…
Time to show us the gamble was worth it.
A lot of the talk coming out Nottingham Forest’s defeat to Wigan was the decision by Sabri Lamouchi to rest Lewis Grabban, with some media outlets even going so far as saying that the decision to drop him could have ramifications when the January window rolls around.
When Lamouchi spoke after the defeat, he mentioned how he had to be rather careful with how he handled Grabban with so many games coming up in such a short space of time:
“With Grabban, it was clear that I needed to think about all games. not just this one. I took some choices and I have this responsibility; I don’t have any problem with that.”
So with all that in mind, there can be no excuses for Grabban not to show up tonight.
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Whilst it was understandable for there to be some rotation given the fact Forest are playing three games in the space of six days, if you are going to rotate players in that way, you have to be able to show that the decision was the right one further down the line.
Grabban does not necessarily have to score a hat-trick or even contribute an assist for the decision to be justified, if he bullies defenders, holds up play for the rest of his teammates and creates opportunities for his team to get the win, it would have been the right call.
But at the same time, he can’t simply hang off the rest of the team’s coat-tails and let other players pick up the slack.
To put it bluntly, they need to win the game because of him, rather than in spite of him.
Not only should he want to perform to justify the manager’s decision to drop him on Sunday but also because he really needs to get back his goal-scoring form that has really been on the decline recently.
He’s gone from four goals in the first five games to one in the last seven, form that should be rather worrying for a team that is near the top of the table.
Failure to perform tonight, and those questions about bringing someone in during the January window are going to start getting louder and louder.
The pressure is well and truly on.