The Chalkboard: It’s time for Lewis Grabban to be dropped and Daryl Murphy to start

Nottingham Forest and striker Lewis Grabban made it three successive Championship matches without a goal following their 1-0 defeat against Queens Park Rangers at the City Ground on Saturday, and manager Aitor Karanka needs to do something he wouldn’t have wanted to do for the trip to Norwich City on Boxing Day.

On the chalkboard

The Reds signed Grabban from Bournemouth during the summer transfer window as the Spaniard looked to add goals to his side to try and take them up the league standings, and it is a decision that has generally paid off this term.

The 30-year-old has plundered 14 goals – and missed three penalties – in 22 Championship appearances thus far, and has had to work hard given he has played as a lone striker in the large majority of those fixtures.

Following Ben Brereton’s departure to Blackburn Rovers in the summer, the only other competition Grabban has for his spot is in the form of 35-year-old Daryl Murphy – a 55th-minute substitute against QPR at the weekend.

Karanka needs to make tough call

Three games without a goal for his team and Grabban is not a great sign ahead of a busy festive period where they face the top two in the Championship, and his recent form suggests that he needs to be either dropped or rested ahead of the trip to lowly Millwall and visit of high-flying Leeds United on New Year’s Day.

While Grabban is a former Norwich man and clearly a big goal threat, Karanka can spring a surprise by playing a motivated Murphy at Carrow Road, and given his height and strength he would give the Canaries’ backline a different problem to deal with.

The former Boro boss wouldn’t have wanted to do that in ideal circumstances, but it might be for the best of the player and his team over the course of the next couple of weeks.

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