As Nottingham Forest’s season draws to a close the post-mortem will inevitably start as to what decided the team’s fate.
A fundamental fact is that Forest’s form has been hindered due to the fact that all too often the club hasn’t been able to get a settled pairing in place at centre-back.
Forest have used no fewer than nine different central defenders this season. Whichever way people want to dress that up, it’s far too many.
Eight of those are still at the City Ground, Danny Fox being the only one to depart, leaving for Wigan Athletic in January.
Eight into two doesn’t go and Seat Pitch assessed each central defender – and one who is set to return to the club – and offered an opinion on whether or not they should be kept on next season.
The Forest favourite hasn’t tasted a league defeat since returning to the City Ground back in July, although keeping him fit is key. He’s played just 11 games in all competitions. Give his experience he could be worth keeping around in some capacity. Whether that is as a player remains to be seen.
Verdict – Keep.
Capable of the sublime and the ridiculous, Forest have seen less of the former and more of the latter. The German departed Huddersfield and it’s pretty easy to see why. He has been injured since New Year’s Day and probably won’t play for Forest again.
Verdict – Offload.
Arguably Forest’s most competent central defender when fully fit. The Portuguese enforcer has spent the majority of the campaign out injured, playing just a dozen games. Figueiredo is worth keeping around though.
Verdict – Keep.
Will forever be remembered for his winner against Derby County back in February but he does have the occasional lapse. The Tunisian has done a job for Forest at a time when options were limited. Can I see him being part of a promotion-winning team? The jury is out.
Verdict – Undecided.
The Swedish defender has looked excellent in the vast majority of games he has played for Forest. It is somewhat bizarre that Martin O’Neill has overlooked him in recent weeks, choosing to not even include him on the bench. Should be kept around at the club but seems unlikely at the moment.
Verdict – Should be kept, but will probably leave.
One of the best free signings at Forest in recent times Robinson has filled in on occasions at central defence. He is much more suited to left back however and should play there when he is available for selection.
Verdict – Keep, as a left-back!
Sometimes in football needs must and Yacob played a couple of games at central defence around Christmas. Nonetheless, at least he could get a kick back then. The Argentinean is a fantastic midfield player but has been completely frozen out under O’Neill.
Verdict – Keep, but will likely want to leave
The man on loan from Udinese has netted three goals during his short spell in the side. It probably won’t be enough to see his loan extended though. His defending has been erratic at times and better options will be out there.
Verdict – Offload
Joe Worrall – Returning from Rangers
The 22-year-old from Hucknall has been in decent form for the Scottish giants and he will have benefited from the experience. Fair to say he will probably get a chance to impress next season.
Verdict – Keep