After continuing their recent good form with a 1-0 victory over Rotherham, Nottingham Forest take on Derby County on Friday night looking to make it three wins on the bounce.
Chris Hughton’s side have turned things around since the start of the new year, losing just three times in all competitions, including really improving things defensively – Forest have conceded just two goals in their last seven games.
While Hughton may be reluctant to make too many changes from the side that beat Rotherham on Tuesday evening, one player who the Forest boss should be looking to bring back into the fold is Alex Mighten.
The 18-year-old was dropped to the bench for the clash in mid-week, perhaps with one eye on being given a start against the Rams on Friday. And when you look at how the teenager has performed since emerging onto the scene, it’s clear why he could well be a potential game-changer for Forest.
The Championship side have rather understandably looked to protect Mighten from over-exposure and placing too much responsibility on his shoulders, and it’s no surprise that despite making 13 appearances this season in the league, that’s only amounted to 572 minutes of action.
Hughton has tried to ease him into things, but the talent is unquestionable. Forest right-back Cyrus Christie waxed lyrical about his ability, saying:
“Alex gives us a different dynamic. He is unorthodox. You do not know what he is going to do. He is so tricky and lively. You hate playing against him in training when you perhaps don’t feel 100 per cent but he is somehow operating at 120 per cent. He has been fantastic. He has not let his head drop.”
The £3.5k-a-week earning gem ranks joint-sixth for most dribbles per game in the Championship this season for Forest (1.1), while only three other players in the squad are fouled more times than him (1.8).
It’s a testament to his constant desire to make things happen and take Forest forward, rather than just trying to settle for the simple pass and play things safe.
It’s exactly the kind of fearlessness that Hughton should look to unleash for the Derby game, and Mighten’s directness and skill could be the key to ensuring Forest’s excellent recent run continues.