Nottingham Forest manager has both Matty Cash and Molla Wagué back available for selection this weekend.
The Reds face a tough game against Preston North End at Deepdale on Saturday. Having both Cash and Wagué back from injury will certainly give Martin O’Neill something to think about.
They both missed out on Tuesday’s game against West Bromwich Albion with minor injuries. The Reds were unlucky not to pick up all three points after being denied late on by a controversial penalty decision. O’Neill’s side didn’t seem to particularly miss either Cash or Wagué, but the former would’ve been useful due to his energy levels.
Although he’s barely had chance to settle yet, Wagué proved in the win against Brentford that he can be a valuable member of the squad. He scored just nine minutes after being introduced with what turned out to be the winning goal.
In this case, O’Neill will be pleased that he seems to have more options with every passing game. It seems that players are gradually starting to return from injury. The squad is certainly in a better place than it was when he was appointed. O’Neill may be tempted to make changes for this fixture.
Will Cash be straight back in?
In his post-match press conference in midweek, O’Neill revealed that both players had been suffering with slight knocks.
He told the Nottingham Post: “Cash went off in the game on Saturday with a slight injury problem and was still feeling it.
“Hopefully a couple more days might help him.
“Wagué had a bit of an issue in training, so we took him out of the picture completely. But he is improving and I am hoping that he will be available for selection this weekend.”
In Cash’s case in particular, it’ll be interesting to see if O’Neill immediately reinstates him in the line-up. Before he picked up a slight knock, he had been ever-present under the Northern Irishman. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him return.
It’s less likely that Wagué will find himself in the starting line-up at the weekend. The 27-year-old centre-back only made three appearances for Udinese in the first half of the season. O’Neill will want to ensure he is fully up to speed before throwing him into a Championship fixture from the start.
Despite his chances of starting being slim, he’s likely to be in the match day squad. The Reds didn’t have a single defender named on the bench in midweek. This is mainly due to the fact that the likes of Michael Dawson, Michael Hefele and Tobias Figueiredo all remain out injured.
Luckily, there was no desperate need for O’Neill to bring on a defender at any point during the match.
However, it’s unlikely that O’Neill will want to continue taking this sort of gamble moving forward. Wagué is certainly not a bad option to bring on off the bench. He may have been able to help the Reds see out the game against West Brom.
Changes likely to be made
O’Neill has already hinted that he may make changes this weekend. The last two games against Brentford and West Brom are likely to have taken a lot out of the players. It’ll be important to keep things fresh against Preston.
Whatever team O’Neill decides to name, there are going to be good players left out of not only the team, but also the match day squad. The Reds certainly have the strength in depth to go on a good run. Whether they’ve left themselves too much work to do to get in the play-offs remains to be seen.