Steve Cooper will be desperately searching for solutions to improve and adapt his team to play for survival as the Garibaldi Reds will find it tougher and tougher to retain their top-flight status if they continue to struggle for important points.
It’s not all doom and gloom though. Nottingham Forest’s defensive play has certainly improved allowing for a point picked up against Brighton earlier this week, but now the Welsh manager must find the right combination of attacking talent in the team to inspire better performances in the final third and increase goal-scoring opportunities.
Only Wolverhampton Wanderers have scored fewer goals than Cooper’s side which has certainly contributed to the team’s fall into the bottom three, so the manager must finally start selecting forward players who put 100% into every performance.
As a result, Cooper must finally ditch Jesse Lingard as his anonymous performance against Brighton should be the final nail in the coffin for the manager who has clearly invested his trust in the former Manchester United ace by giving him seven starts so far.
The 29-year-old had just 16 touches of the ball, completed only 11 passes, had no shots on goal, made no key passes, no crosses and lost 100% of his duels over the 86-minute performance at the AMEX Stadium on Tuesday night. It proves he is clearly uninterested and lacks the hard-working ethos that Forest will need to survive.
Instead, the Forest boss should put his faith into newly-signed Taiwo Awoniyi to give the young striker the opportunity to build confidence and a run of form in front of goal alongside Brennan Johnson and Morgan Gibbs-White.
The 25-year-old Nigerian centre-forward who was hailed a “nuisance” by Jay-Jay Okocha scored 20 goals and delivered five assists for Union Berlin last season, and over his ten appearances so far for Nottingham Forest has shown glimpses of how much more he can offer to the team compared to Lingard.
Awoniyi has scored two goals, taken 1.1 shots on goal and won 1.3 duels per game, despite only being given an average of 39 minutes per match and four starts. Meanwhile, Lingard, who averages 67 minutes per game has offered zero goal contributions so far.
With that being said, Cooper must seriously consider starting a much more clinical player in Awoniyi over Lingard this weekend when the side host Liverpool at The City Ground, as Awoniyi could offer much more to the attacking threat in the difficult clash.