Could Nottingham-born Tendayi Darikwa play a leading role in leading Nottingham Forest back to the Premier League Promised Land?

There was a time not all that long ago when you would have struggled to secure much support for the cause mentioned above.

Times, however, are a changin’.

It is remarkable what a bit of confidence and feel-good factor can do, both to the collective mood around any given club and to the form of certain individuals within it.

True colours

Darikwa, who has never been a bad player, is among those to seemingly be benefitting from the wave of optimism currently sweeping in from the Trent.

The mist which rolls in off said waterway appeared to have contributed to the 26-year-old losing his way at times last season – and he was not the only one.

The clouds are clearing, though, and true colours being shown.

A man brought up within the West Bridgford surrounds of the City Ground put in arguably his best performance for the Reds against Ipswich at the weekend, with his fellow locals embracing a positive showing from one of their own.

Darikwa’s display against the Tractor Boys was the definition of what he is all about.

(Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

Having started out as a midfielder and being converted into a right-back by Chesterfield, the Zimbabwe international is unquestionably more at home on the front foot than he is the back.

Those qualities were on full display as he played a part in both of the Lewis Grabban goals which secured Forest an eighth victory of the season.

He also contributed to another shut out – a seventh of the season, having only been involved in nine across the entire 2017/18 campaign.

Life is pretty rosy, but it could have been very different.

There were plenty of times last term when a reliable option at right-back appeared a pipedream for Forest, with Darikwa and Eric Lichaj taking it in turns to impress and infuriate in equal measure.

Up for grabs

Patience is being rewarded.

There was no guarantee in 2018/19 that Darikwa would be a go-to man for Aitor Karanka, with Sam Byram drafted in on loan from West Ham with the intention of slotting in on the right of a back four.

With injury having restricted him to just three outings, and with Saidy Janko having faded after a bright opening, a starting berth has been up for grabs.

Darikwa has made the most of that opportunity – right man, right place, right time, right-back.

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