International breaks rarely offer up much cheer, but there is cause for the Nottingham Forest faithful to welcome the latest.

The Reds are not due to be back in action until playing host to Swansea on March 30.

That is a two-week gap to fill with no domestic football at the City Ground or in the wider Championship world.

For some, the next fortnight will be a nightmare.

There are, however, positives to be taken as focus prepares to shift from club matters to country.

  1. O’Neill can tinker with his plans

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Since taking the reins, the man at the helm has taken in 11 games.

He had no pre-season with which to work and was thrown straight in at the deep end.

Fortunately, O’Neill has swum in the Forest pool before and has been able to keep his head above water while collecting 15 points.

A break, though, has come at a good time with there still some serious consistency issues to be ironed out.

  1. Walking wounded can rebuild fitness

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Whisper it quietly, but the run of untimely injuries and suspensions appears to have come to an end.

Barely a week went by at one stage without somebody taking up residence in the treatment room.

Matty Cash is back, Sam Byram closing on a return, as is Lewis Grabban and Hillal Soudani rebuilding his fitness.

Then there is Michael Dawson and Tobias Figueiredo, who formed a solid centre-half partnership before picking up knocks, and the promise of some more welcome selection headaches.

  1. We get to shout at someone else!


The opportunity has arisen to vent your spleen at somebody not wearing Garibaldi.

There will be some familiar faces in international action over the next couple of weeks, but most will have no ties to Forest.

That means you get to critique others safe in the knowledge that there are no Championship points on the line.

“Have a word (insert midfielder from chosen country here), you’re nothing on Jack Colback!”

  1. No referees can screw us over for two weeks!

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)


Two whole weeks without questioning why the man in the middle has not paid a visit to a certain opticians.

No points will slip the net as a result of a dubious offside decision, debateable penalty or bemusing handball call.

As a result, collective blood pressure can return to a normal level before Swansea visit Trentside at the end of the month.

  1. Remember, we’re still in the mix

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Three points.

That remains all that seperates Forest from the play-off positions, with the Reds only four adrift of Middlesbrough in fifth.

There are eight games to come, which means 24 points up for grabs.

We may have slipped to 11th in the table, but there is still all to play for.

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