Forest return to the scene of one their most complete performances in recent memory this evening when they travel to West Bromwich Albion.

The Reds won 3-1 at The Hawthorns back in 2010 to give their promotion bid a real boost.

It wasn’t to be of course. Forest failed in the play-offs, losing to Blackpool, and have remained in the second tier ever since.

The left-back that night was Nicky Shorey, the man signed by Billy Davies on loan in November 2009 to ‘shore-up’ an already pretty solid back four.

(Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)

The signing of the Aston Villa man was inspired.

During his nine-game stint at the City Ground, Forest failed to lose. Seven wins, a couple of draws and the Reds were seemingly cruising towards a place among the country’s elite.

Not quite.

The Villa manager at the time was none other than Martin O’Neill. He had already made it crystal clear that Shorey wasn’t for sale. Essentially, Forest knew the loan was for nine games and that was our lot, according to a Nottingham Post article.

The man who played twice for England would leave Villa again, but this time the lure of Premier League football at Fulham proved decisive.

Forest would miss the experience of Shorey badly.

Three of the next five games were 1-0 defeats and the Reds’ promotion dreams would end in disappointment.

It wasn’t just that season that Forest failed to replace Shorey, but there is a case to say that in the 10 years that have now passed, he still hasn’t been replaced.

Déjà vu

Ryan Bertrand, now of Southampton, was signed for six months the season after and the same situation occurred again.

The Chelsea youngster was superb at the City Ground but following the end of his loan spell, he returned to Stamford Bridge as his parent club wanted to take a look at him.

He ended up playing seven times for the first-team before the end of the campaign. Typical.

Since then many have tried and failed, to hold down the left-back position at Nottingham Forest.

It speaks volumes that you can count on one hand the amount of decent left-backs Forest have had since the great Stuart Pearce departed in 1997.

In Shorey, Forest thought they had found their heir to the king’s throne.

It wasn’t to be and the conundrum rolls on.

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