The battle for starting duties in Nottingham Forest’s right-back berth was not supposed to be this complicated.

At the start of the summer, the plan was that Sam Byram would return to the City Ground.

Hopes soon faded there.

No worries, Tendayi Darikwa is a more than adequate option.

Cue a serious knee injury for the Nottingham-born Zimbabwe international.

What do we do now?!

Step forwards – or backwards in this case – Matty Cash.

An enthusiastic academy graduate made it clear that he is happy to play any role required of him.

He said in the Nottingham Post after being asked to shelve his ambitions on the wing: “It is a position I would like to pin down and make my own.

“I hear loads of people say ‘he is not a right-back’. I just want to prove people wrong.

“The best I can do is to do my best in every game. I have been asked to play there and I will always give my all.”


(Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

There were still a few doubters.

So Carl Jenkinson, a man with a senior England cap to his name, was acquired from Arsenal.

Surely this was the option Forest had been crying out for.

An actual right-back to fill a problematic position, rather than a makeshift one.

Well, the jury is still out.

Time is very much on Jenkinson’s side and he boasts the CV to suggest that he can nail down a full-back role.

He has, however, not been entirely convincing so far.

To the point that there is an argument for suggesting that Cash is deserving of more minutes.

The 22-year-old has been learning on the job, but making a decent fist of it.


He even lived the dream in a recent Carabao Cup victory over arch-rivals Derby by finishing a 3-0 win with the captain’s armband strapped in place.

Bench duty was his a few days later against Preston.

Jenkinson failed to prevent Billy Bodin from opening the score in said contest.

He can’t shoulder the blame for that goal, but neither did he cover himself in glory.

Cash, meanwhile, can claim to be bettering a rival in a number of areas this season – with his goal account having been opened against West Brom.

His passing accuracy is not as good as Jenkinson but – unsurprisingly as a natural wide man – he is more effective on the front foot.

He gets more crosses in, attempts more dribbles, takes more touches, makes more recoveries and clearances, is stronger in aerial battles, boasts better overall duel success and gives fewer fouls away.

Jenkinson may be better positionally and not get beaten as frequently by opponents with the ball at their feet, but doesn’t offer the same kind of all-round game and still looks a little rusty.

He can rightly argue that his job is to defend, not attack.

And he would be making a very valid point.

There are, however, still question marks over a position in the Forest side that everyone had been hoping to see answered by now.

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