Michael Dawson out for six weeks and Michael Hefele done for the season.

Two lines casually dropped into Martin O’Neill’s latest press conference.

The Reds boss said in the Nottingham Post: “Dawson was a casualty on my first day in training.

“It could have happened at any given stage, but he has suffered a setback and will probably be out for at least six weeks again.

“Hefele has had injury problems as well and he is going to have surgery and I am not likely to see him at all this season.

“Maybe that prognosis might be just slightly early. But overall I do not expect to see him.

Said comments barely registered on the radar.

With the January window in full swing, nobody wants to hear about injuries.

Transfer blindness has struck.

See no evil, hear no evil.

Just tell us who you are going to sign!


(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

O’Neill did cater to the demands of the gossip hungry, adding: “We are going to try to shore up things at the back, if we can.

“That is a case of needs must, if that is possible between now and the deadline.”

An ongoing pursuit of further fresh faces is welcome news.

The continued absence of Dawson is not.

Forest are yet to come unstuck when the 35-year-old has figured this season – with that record standing at 10 games and counting.

The value of his vast experience and no little ability is clear for all to see.

He offers an assuring presence at the heart of the defence and, as skipper, leads by example.

Having already gone nine matches without him, the thought of another seven is tough to stomach.

That is, however, the situation now facing Forest.


If Dawson were to be missing for another six weeks, then he could theoretically step back into the fold against former club Hull City on March 9.

Prior to that, the Reds have some testing fixtures to take in.

Not least a visit from Derby on February 25.

Before the Rams roll into town, there are meetings with Wigan, Birmingham, Brentford, West Brom and Preston to contend with.

O’Neill’s men are also due to travel to Stoke five days after taking in a derby date at the City Ground.

That is another 21 points that Dawson will play no part in trying to obtain.

By the time he is fit again, the Reds’ season could be over.

Hopefully that will not be the case and he can offer a timely boost to a promising promotion push.

For now, though, faith is going to have to be put in the performances of others – potentially some of those so longed-for new arrivals.

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