Martin O’Neill suffered defeat in his first game as Nottingham Forest manager to Bristol City at the weekend.
Famara Diedhiou’s strike around 20 minutes from time secured the Robins all three points. It was a very disappointing performance from the Reds. They have now only won one of their last nine matches.
One player who stood out for Lee Johnson’s side was ex-Forest forward Jamie Paterson. The 27-year-old was given almost a free role in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
With the protection of Marlon Pack and Josh Brownhill behind him, he was able to roam freely in the final third.
In contrast to Forest, the Robins are flying up the table with four league wins in a row. They now find themselves just two points off the play-offs.
Therefore, it is possible that Paterson could be testing himself in the Premier League next season.
Having left the City Ground permanently in August 2016, Seat Pitch has taken a look at why it didn’t work out for him in Nottingham.
Paterson could count himself unlucky at Forest
Not many players have left Forest in recent years and have gone on to better things. Jamaal Lascelles and Michail Antonio are the two main success stories as they continue to play regularly in the top flight.
However, Paterson has certainly done well for himself since leaving the club.
‘Pato’ was a popular figure at the club in his first season, scoring 12 goals in 39 appearances in all competitions. This return made the £1 million price tag for the youngster seem a steal.
Despite this, Paterson found opportunities limited under Stuart Pearce, mainly due to the arrival of Antonio. Some questions were also raised by some about the youngster’s attitude in training.
Under the management of Dougie Freedman, Paterson still struggled to get into the starting line-up. This saw him join Huddersfield on a season-long loan, before eventually leaving Forest permanently in August 2016 as he joined Bristol City.
His upturn in form since joining the Robins raises the question on whether he deserved more of a chance at the City Ground? He seemed to be hurried out of the exit door rather quickly without having done much wrong. There were certainly worse players at the club at the time.
Impresses on his former turf
The Reds may have been getting used to a new formation, but Paterson stood out in the middle of the park at the weekend. He seemed to be finding space in the final third with ease throughout.
Paterson’s sharp passing and movement wasn’t easy to deal with. He almost opened the scoring in the second-half as he forced Costel Pantilimon into making an acrobatic save.
He is the sort of creative player the Reds were lacking, albeit with one of their own in João Carvalho sat on the bench. The Claudio Yacob and Jack Colback partnership didn’t offer enough attacking threat.
Would he be involved in Forest’s first-team at present? Probably. Although, he arguably isn’t O’Neill’s sort of player. If he was, then Carvalho would’ve found himself in the team.
In short, Paterson has certainly progressed at Bristol City, and it is now time for Forest to get their own house in order under the management of O’Neill.