Those currently frozen out at Nottingham Forest, such as Zach Clough and Costel Pantilimon, have been offered little hope in pursuit of a clean slate.

One was provided to everybody over the summer.

The arrival of Sabri Lamouchi offered a fresh start for all concerned.

Some have taken that opportunity.

Others haven’t.

And those falling into the latter of those two categories appear set to remain very much on the fringes of the fold.

Quizzed in the Nottingham Post on whether outcasts could be presented with an olive branch, Lamouchi said: “Maybe. Maybe yes, maybe not.”

That is a polite way of saying ‘no’.

For those who failed to secure a move elsewhere over the summer, the outlook appears bleak.

Pantilimon probably didn’t expect to be in this position.

He was undisputed first-choice last season, but has suffered a humbling tumble down the pecking order.


(Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

A lack of game time probably comes as less of a surprise to Clough.

Since arriving in a £3 million move from Bolton in January 2017, the 24-year-old has failed to live up to his name on Trentside.

Time is still on his side, in terms of his career, but the end is nigh at the City Ground.

He has been turning out for Forest’s U23 side of late, with a goal recorded in a 3-1 win over Ipswich.

That, though, would appear to be the footballing equivalent of treading water.

Lamouchi has said in the Post of Clough: “Yes, he did (do well).

“But there are two philosophies, and my philosophy is very simple – to try to work with my group and not have a lot of change or movement.

“We need to work hard and we need to achieve our target.

“Our target for this month is six games (before the next international break), and in these six games we need to be ready and we need to be focused. Just that.”



Lamouchi inherited a huge squad.

He did his best to trim it down, with the departure lounge seeing plenty of activity.

There are, however, still bodies on his books that are surplus to requirements.

Everyone needs to make peace with that.

The right approach is being taken in looking to establish a core of 20-odd players.

Forest have given minutes to 20 in the Championship so far this season.

The likes of Tobias Figueiredo, Alex Milosevic, Chema, Yohan Benalouane and Ryan Yates will hope to see some in the future, while Alex Mighten could yet come into the mix.

Tendayi Darikwa, meanwhile, will have a role to play in the squad once fully fit again.

Outside of them, the door appears to be closed.

Pantilimon, Clough, Claudio Yacob, Michael Hefele et al are on the outside looking in.

That situation is not about to change any time soon, with the thoughts of some likely to already be drifting towards January and another window of opportunity to escape.

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