Joe Lolley is going nowhere this summer having committed to a contract through to 2023.

We hope.

Well, except maybe on holiday.

Or to the doctors.

Rest and recovery are what Nottingham Forest’s Player of the Year needs.

Only one man figured in all 46 Championship games for the Reds in 2018-19, and that man was Lolley.

He was, quite literally, pushed to breaking point.

It says plenty about the 26-year-old that he played through the pain barrier at times.

Forest needed him, and he constantly accepted the call.

By the time he trudged off against Bolton on the final day, he was running on fumes.

The demands of a marathon campaign in the second tier had taken their toll.


(Photo by Andrew Kearns – CameraSport via Getty Images)

Martin O’Neill told the Nottingham Post after a 1-0 win over the Trotters that Lolley’s solitary strike secured: “He has a little shin problem. He has shin splints, which have affected him, during his career.

“He has to live with it. Sometimes they stay for a period of time, sometimes they go away.

“He did look to be in pain and it is something that he had to deal with at Huddersfield, for a little while.

“There was a spell there, where he was in constant pain. And people talked about him not being able to last through games. But it was a lot to do with that issue.”

If Lolley’s shin issue cannot be eradicated entirely, then the over-reliance on him can be.

Questions – whoever they may have been from – of his ability to see games through are understandable.

He plays the game at full throttle.

And takes plenty of hits along the way.

While trying to stay on his feet.

Bumps and bruises are to be expected for a man who will see one mazy run come to an end, dust himself down and immediately demand the ball again.

He cannot, though, be expected to carry that burden by himself.

Twelve goals and 11 assists were contributed to the collective cause this term.

A healthy return by anybody’s standard.

Forest have, however, looked to him for inspiration far too often.

The hope is that Joao Carvalho will help to carry the load next season.



After a year to settle in and several months to earn favour with O’Neill, the Portuguese should be better prepared for a leading role in 2019-20.

Dips, though, will be endured.

And Lolley will need to be rested at times – even if that is in the second-half of games after already running himself into the ground.

Alternatives are required.

Which is where the summer transfer window comes in.

Added creativity should have already figured prominently on O’Neill’s wish list.

Forest have, after all, been short in that department for some time.

They now have the chance to bolster the ranks and add another string to their bow.

August should arrive with Carvalho and Lolley being complemented by at least one more player with the potential to pick the tightest of locks.

An enigmatic No. 10 with the ability to amaze and frustrate in equal measure, along with a No. 23 nursing shin splints, cannot be expected to do everything.

Such match-altering talent does not come cheap but if Premier League dreams are to be realised, then the Reds need to speculate to accumulate.

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