Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at the hands of Bristol City has left Nottingham Forest boss Martin O’Neill with plenty to ponder.

The 66-year-old didn’t get the start he was hoping for from his new charges and a big week on the training ground now lies ahead.

O’Neill’s decision to start with a 4-4-2 formation didn’t pay dividends and that experiment could be quickly shelved.

Another tactical ploy that backfired at the weekend was the decision to play Joe Lolley on the right-wing; as opposed to the left where he has been at his devastating best this season.

(Photo by Mark Fletcher/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The concept in itself is a nice idea.

Playing the wingers on the opposite side to their strongest foot naturally allows for the player to cut inside and either test the goalkeeper, or put balls into the box.

Put in to practice, however, it proved a recipe for disaster in Saturday’s defeat.

Football teams operate at their most efficient when they are built around the best player; deploying Lolley on the right is definitely not achieving that.

Home comforts

The ex-Huddersfield man has seven goals and eight assists to his name this season, but since late November he has claimed just one assist having been rotated from wing to wing.

The 26-year-old just doesn’t look comfortable on the right.

The fact he is always looking to get onto his left foot as quickly as possible makes him predictable for defenders to deal with.

Quite simply, Lolley has proved almost ineffective more often than not this season when he has been used on the right flank.

If he plays on the left he can literally get the ball and start driving at the full-back, which is what Forest need him to be doing.

Lolley has scored goals this season that other players can only dream of scoring and footballers don’t become bad overnight.

The club’s main man has looked void of ideas and completely shot of confidence of late and the sooner they get him back to his best the better.

If reaching the play-offs is still to be a realistic target then O’Neill needs wins and fast and picking up those victories will probably hinge on the form of Lolley.

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