The Chalkboard: Aitor Karanka has a major centre-back dilemma for Ipswich visit

Nottingham Forest centre-back Tobias Figueiredo will miss the visit of Ipswich Town to the City Ground on Saturday following the straight red card he received in the 5-5 draw with Aston Villa.

The Reds defender was dismissed for a challenge on Villa midfielder John McGinn, and the news would have come as a big blow to manager Aitor Karanka who is already without Danny Fox until he returns from injury.

Even though the Tractor Boys are bottom of the Championship, the east Midlands outfit and their Spanish boss are well aware that there are no easy matches at this level.

On the chalkboard

When Figueiredo was sent off at Villa Park, Michael Hefele came on to make his first league appearance since the 2-1 defeat to Norwich City in October, sitting alongside Michael Dawson at the heart of the back four.

Conceding five goals could be deemed a one-off, but it should also be worrying for Karanka even if it came on the back of three clean sheets – you can’t concede five in one match if you want to win promotion to the Premier League.

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Perhaps the quick-fire matches are also catching up on the 35-year-old Dawson, and a rest could be needed for him ahead of the busy festive period.

What should Karanka do?

Sky Sports reported before the Aston Villa clash that Fox was edging closer to a return, but it appears as though he is once again a major doubt for the visit of Ipswich.

The Reds could certainly do with the return of a player who had become a talisman for them, but should he be unavailable Karanka must still take the 6ft 2in Dawson out of the spotlight following his questionable display at Villa Park.

Left-back Jack Robinson, who can also play in the middle, must start alongside Hefele at the heart of the backline against the Tractor Boys, with Tendayi Darikwa and Saidy Janko filling the full-back roles.

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