Nottingham Forest legend Kenny Burns has suggested in the Nottingham Post that Lewis Grabban must force his way back into the team.
The 31-year-old striker has had to settle for a place on the bench in the last two games. This is despite the fact that Martin O’Neill started both Grabban and Murphy in his first game in charge against Bristol City.
However, since then, he has opted to play Murphy by himself in a lone striker role. This has made it harder for Grabban to end his barren run in front of goal.
The Reds had struggled to find a striker of Britt Assombalonga’s quality since he left to join Middlesbrough in a deal worth £15 million. Due to Financial Fair Play restrictions, it made it difficult for Forest to replace him with a striker of similar quality.
Having scored 15 goals by the start of December, Grabban proved he was able to fill the void. Despite this superb start, speculation about Aitor Karanka’s future coincided with Grabban’s dip in form.
He’s now gone nine games without finding the back of the net. Considering all of his goals came in a 15-game period previous to this, it’s an alarming goal-drought.
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Does Grabban need to add to his game?
Burns has said in the Nottingham Post of Grabban’s recent run: “Lewis Grabban is a good player, but he’s not been in the form he was earlier in the season. He hasn’t scored sine he got two against Ipswich Town, at the start of December.
“And I think he needs to chip in with the other side of the game a bit more.
“He has to do the ugly things, like chase back and tackle – it’s not just up to the defenders and midfielders to do that, the strikers have to help out as well.
“He needs to show them that he’s bursting at the seams to get a game; show them that he’s really up for it. That gives Martin a dilemma then.”
Even though he’s going through a poor spell, hasn’t Grabban already done enough to prove he’s the best striker at the club? At one stage this season, he was one of the most prolific strikers in Europe.
O’Neill has included Murphy in his starting line-up for all three of his games in charge so far. However, the 35-year-old striker has hardly done much to prove he’s worthy of a starting place over Grabban.
Murphy is undoubtedly a useful option in this division. He’s able to hold the ball up and bring other players into play. However, he doesn’t find the back of the net as often as he once did.
In comparison to Grabban’s run of form, Murphy has only scored once in his last 13 appearances. This does nothing to suggest that he can’t be dropped.
Baz Cooper of the Nottingham Post has suggested that Grabban has recently been out of the side due to a slight injury. After being on the bench for the last two games, he can’t be far off being fully fit.
If he is back to full fitness this weekend, there’s no doubt that he should be given a chance and end his goal drought.