January 31, 2019: Nottingham Forest fans busy themselves Googling ‘who is Alexander Milosevic’.

February 2, 2019: Reds supporters curse the fact that Yohan Benalouane collects a late red card at Birmingham.

February 25, 2019: Benalouane and Milosevic are anointed as the second coming of Lloyd and Burns.

How to make friends and influence people by Yohan and Alexander.

Theirs is a tale of meteoric rises which have turned virtual unknowns into the toast of Trentside.

Back in mid-January, Forest had no manager and no centre-halves.

They now have a club legend returned to his spiritual home and arguably too many options to fill two berths at the heart of the back four.

How times change.

Martin O’Neill has made a mockery of those quick to write him off upon his appointment, with Forest currently enjoying a four-game unbeaten run.

A sequence of results which includes a victory over Derby as the most recent entry.

Superhero

(Photo by Jon Hobley/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

And in said contest, Benalouane earned superhero status by netting the winner.

Milosevic bolted the back door alongside him and a silencing of the Rams was complete.

Back-to-back clean sheets for the first time since November and for only the second time this season.

Those involved have rightly been showered with praise.

The soft centre Forest faced accusations of having early in the campaign has been well and truly baked.

Bark has been added to bite and the Reds will roll over for nobody.

What, though, does all of this mean for those being forced to watch on from afar?

Most notably, the alternative options at centre-half.

Michael Dawson is yet to taste defeat during a second spell at the City Ground and offers a more cultured approach to the art of defending.

Promise

 

He is, however, 35 years of age and nursing his way back from a serious hamstring complaint.

Then there is Tobias Figueiredo.

The Portuguese is a more youthful addition to the ranks at 25 years of age and has shown plenty of promise while with the Reds.

Back in November when three successive shut outs were secured, he was very much part of the furniture.

He too has been hampered by niggling knocks, though, and finds himself on the outside looking in.

Since Dawson and Figueiredo hit the treatment table, three players in their position have arrived.

Benalouane and Milosevic have become cult heroes in a matter of weeks, while Molla Wague boasts a match-winner on debut against Brentford on his Forest CV.

Michael Hefele is also still knocking around but has become little more than a footnote after seeing his season ended by injury and a host of fresh faces arrive.

What happens now once everyone is fit?

A very welcome selection dilemma and one that few could have predicted when scratching around for information on the new arrivals during the winter transfer window.

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