Nottingham Forest haven’t had the best start to their Premier League season, spending most of their return to the top flight in the relegation zone but Steve Cooper will be hoping the second half of the season will deliver better performances from his team.
The Tricky Trees finally started to build some good momentum in their fixtures ahead of the World Cup break, picking up crucial points in four of their last five games which has lifted them from rock bottom to one point away from climbing out of the bottom three.
As a result, the Forest boss will have mixed emotions about the pause in Premier League football as Forest were in a good run of form that could be compromised by the month-long break. However, it could also be a blessing in disguise giving the manager time to work on his squad and build better connections on the pitch during the intermission.
Not only will Cooper be grateful for the opportunity to work on the performances of the players he currently has in the squad, but he will also have the golden opportunity to strengthen key positions by adding more quality and talent to his newly built team in the January transfer window.
One player who has been linked with a move to Trentside in the upcoming window is Everton centre-back Michael Keane and the experienced player could make a huge difference in the Forest backline in the second half of the season.
Everton acquired the services of Conor Coady and James Tarkowski in the summer with the defensive duo flourishing in their partnership so far this season, notably earning praise from boss Frank Lampard.
As a result, Keane has found himself out of favour at Goodison Park.
Cooper could now capitalise on Keane’s lack of first-team football at his club by snapping up his services for Forest and although he is no longer the first choice at Everton could make the perfect partner for Joe Worrall.
Indeed, the club skipper is in desperate need of finding a more reliable asset next to him and the Toffees man represents a fine choice when you look at his statistical data.
However, from a defensive point of view he made 1.9 interceptions, 1.4 tackles, four clearances and won 4.9 duels per game, proving that despite Everton’s struggles he can be a solid option.
Keane has been the recipient of high praise with Henry Winter, in particular, taking a liking to him. (via Goodison News):
“Michael Keane has always seemed a confidence player and that belief has been absent for too long.
“But a player who has taken so much criticism deserves praise for this performance; we must hope that one of the most likeable men in the sport maintains such form.”
With that being said, Cooper could really improve Forest’s defensive performance if Forest can secure a deal for Keane in January as his centre-back experience, particularly in the top flight, could be the difference between survival and relegation from the Premier League at the end of the campaign.