With eight games of the season remaining, Nottingham Forest boast just one ever-present within their ranks.

Of the 3,420 Championship minutes taken in this season, only Costel Pantilimon has seen every one.

As a bigger picture, that is not all that surprising.

Goalkeepers are always going to figure prominently on such charts.

The rest?

Well, injury, suspension and the odd dip in form must be taken into account.

And, in Forest’s case, the customary mid-season change of manager.

A new set of eyes brings with it a clean slate and a fresh approach.

You would, however, expect to see a solid backbone to the side.

History dictates that success is often built around stability and continuity.


(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

They are not traits that the Reds have been all too familiar with off the field in recent times.

And, the figures for the current campaign suggest that is being mirrored on it.

For a variety of reasons – some of which are covered above.

Forest have, for the most part, been unable to settle on a favoured starting XI.

And when they have found what they consider to be a winning formula, the football fates have often conspired against them.

That is why, in late-March, the likes of Michael Dawson (701) and Tobias Figueiredo (1,009) have figured in just 20 and 29 per cent of the collective total of minutes across the entire campaign – with Yohan Benalouane (900), who only arrived in January, seeing 26 per cent.

They are not the only ones, though, to have posted numbers well below what would have been expected.

Fellow injury victim Matty Cash (1,720) sits at the halfway mark on 50 per cent.

Lewis Grabban (2,261), another of those stuck in the treatment room for far too long, has only been seen 66 per cent of the time.

Forest’s top marksman has, despite a Portuguese colleague being rooted to the bench of late, taken in only 11 more minutes than Joao Carvalho.

And the Reds’ record signing (also at the 66 per cent mark with Jack Robinson) is now just 16 minutes in front of Ben Osborn.



A few more appearances from the archetypal ‘Marmite Man’ and he will only be behind Pantilimon, Joe Lolley and Jack Colback when it comes to the most prominent roles played.

Few could have predicted that.

More could have taken a punt on Lolley (83 per cent) and Colback (86 per cent) being key men, with the latter having started on all of his 33 appearances and the former joining Pantilimon in having graced all 38 fixtures so far in some capacity.

There are plenty of intriguing figures to be found though.

Take, for example, Ben Watson – a man returned to favour under Martin O’Neill.

He now has 1,067 minutes to his name (31 per cent of the entire season), while Claudio Yacob – who Sportime are linking with a move to Olympiakos – has just 881 (26 per cent).

The Argentine took the captain’s armband in O’Neill’s first game at the helm.

He has seen 22 minutes since!

There are obvious reasons for the chopping and changing, many of them outside of Aitor Karanka or O’Neill’s control.

It is, though, clear that the inconsistency which continues to infuriate everyone can be blamed partly on an inability to establish a settled core.

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