Martin O’Neill may be poised to make a controversial selection call at Nottingham Forest in 2019-20.

That is if Kenny Burns is to be believed.

And a former team-mate of the Reds boss should know the inner workings of O’Neill’s mind.

Having played alongside the Northern Irishman in European Cup-winning sides of the past, there is an obvious bond there.

Burns is, however, no longer privy to discussions held inside the City Ground dressing room.

With that in mind, his musings should not be taken as gospel.

There may be some substance to them though.

And if he does know what he is talking about, then more change could be on the way.

That is because Burns sees Forest favouring a tried and tested formation in 2019-20.


(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

The Reds legend has said in the Nottingham Post: “I think Martin deep down would like to play 4-4-2, but in the second half of the season, since he returned to the club, he needed that insurance policy in midfield with an extra man in there.

“That took away the second striker, which he will want to play next season I would imagine.”

O’Neill actually went with two up top in his very first game back on Trentside.

Lewis Grabban was paired with Daryl Murphy in a home date with Bristol City on January 19.

The end result?

A 1-0 defeat.

Cue a succession of experiments that delivered a mixed bag, to say the least.

A winning formula appeared to have been found in a 3-0 victory over Middlesbrough.

Forest thrived with three at the back, with Joe Lolley and Joao Carvalho operating in deep-lying playmaking posts.

O’Neill did not stick with that plan, though, in the Reds’ final two fixtures.

Maybe that is because he does not have complete faith in it.



Perhaps, 4-4-2 is part of the long-term plan.

Moves for another frontman during the summer transfer window have been mooted.

There is also Tyler Walker to be welcomed back into the fold and decisions to be made on the futures of those such as Jason Cummings and Apostolos Vellios.

Forest have plenty of options, and may bring in even more.

Given that goal-getters do not come cheap, the acquisition of another would suggest that they are intended to see plenty of minutes.

That may be alongside Grabban, or instead of.

Murmurings of discontent continue to swirl around Forest’s 17-goal top marksman.

Whoever comes and goes, though, it remains to be seen how the Reds line up on the opening day in August.

A very British 4-4-2 has not really worked to this point, but maybe O’Neill has a few aces up his sleeve to ensure that his go-to system does deliver rewards in his first full campaign at the helm.

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