Nottingham Forest allowed goalkeeper Jordan Smith to join Barnsley on a seven-day emergency loan on Friday; allowing him to play in the Tykes’ League One fixture with Accrington yesterday.
Smith kept goal with aplomb in a 2-0 win; offering a reminder to Forest boss Aitor Karanka of his qualities.
The 23-year-old hasn’t featured since a disastrous performance in the EFL Cup; first, he flapped at a set-piece for Bury’s opener and was later dismissed for a poor challenge.
Costel Pantilimon and Luke Steele have been competing for the number one spot at Forest this season, with Smith somewhat surplus.
Smith highlighted his undoubted shot-stopping qualities during yesterday’s win at the WHAM Stadium.
During his 44 Forest appearances, his ability at saving shots was one area that rarely came under scrutiny.
Given that he is now deemed somewhat surplus at Forest, however, a longer loan move looks to be on the agenda.
One of Smith’s weaker attributes did appear to show yesterday. During his spell keeping goal for the Reds, doubts had been cast over the quality of his distribution.
Although Smith received lots of praise on social media after the game; some were quick to question his kicking.
Did okay hard to judge really with them not creating too much, made some confident saves early on after that didn't have much to do, his kicking needs a fair bit of work.
— AndyG (@AndyG01226) November 17, 2018
A bit ring rusty I'd say, distribution not fantastic but commanded his area well
— Richard III (@R1chardESQ) November 18, 2018
Did well. Kicking was fairly poor though
— Shane Haywood (@ShaneHaywood) November 17, 2018
Smith is still fairly young for a goalkeeper and it is expected that he will continue to improve.
Distribution is now a key component for top-level goalkeepers, however, and if Smith is serious about having a future at the City Ground he will need to improve in that sense.
Pantilimon has come in for some criticism for poor distribution this season; whilst the reaction from Barnsley fans yesterday would suggest that Smith’s still leaves a lot to be desired too.