Nottingham Forest are firmly back into the swing of things as they prepare for the 2019/20 campaign to get underway.
The Reds finished ninth last season and boss Martin O’Neill will be under no illusions of the promotion task ahead of him.
Forest have been put through their paces this week ahead of Saturday’s first friendly against Alfreton Town.
The game won’t see Adlene Guedioura or Tendayi Darikwa play, with both still representing Algeria and Zimbabwe at the African Cup of Nations.
Darikwa’s absence, in particular, should hand young Jayden Richardson the chance to shine.
The academy man has tweeted this week that he is training with the first-team. On that basis alone, he looks set to be handed a chance to play in the coming weeks.
Good to be back ! day one done ✅ pic.twitter.com/WcKyE7rUyM
— Jayden Richardson (@JaydenR187) June 24, 2019
Richardson is a versatile defender but primarily plays as a right-back.
The 18-year-old penned a first professional contract earlier in the year and he is highly thought of by the club’s academy coaching staff.
Darikwa is unlikely to be available for a few weeks yet; whilst the club isn’t really any closer towards re-signing Sam Byram.
Forest have a proud history of producing their own players and Richardson has a real chance to make a statement this pre-season.
O’Neill proved last season that he isn’t against handing youngsters a chance to play. Ryan Yates and Arvin Appiah were both included on occasions following his arrival in January.
If Richardson does impress during pre-season it could tempt Forest into saving money and not pursuing another right-back.
The ball is now in his court and the opportunity is his to grasp.