If Nottingham Forest are to get the best out of Joe Lolley then he must be given freedom in which to express himself, not be restricted to “round pegs in round holes”.

If he is to be identified as filling one position, then round pegs are preferable to square ones.

Forest have, on occasion, tried to be too experimental at times in recent years.

Lolley, though, has a clearly defined role.

Even if his position is a little fluid.

His job is to influence proceedings in the final third, with a decent fist made of that task during his time at the City Ground.

Early questions were asked of his form in 2019-20, but answers are being offered.

Lolley admits he has not been firing on all cylinders, with consistency deserting him for a while.

There have, however, been encouraging signs over recent weeks – particularly in the 2-1 win at Luton.

Direct

Original Image: NFFC/Graphic Design: Beth Davenport

Back to his buccaneering best, the 27-year-old made things happen at Kenilworth Road.

He was once again a thorn in the side of Championship opponents, with quick feet and direct running delivering rich reward.

Forest legend Kenny Burns has said in the Nottingham Post on the back of that performance: “It certainly helps when Sabri Lamouchi is playing him off the right flank, which is where I think is his best position.

“In that position, Lamouchi does have options available to him with Albert Adomah waiting in the wings to step in, should he be needed.

“Occasionally when he’s deployed wide on the left, he’s not quite as effective and its further evidence that putting round pegs in round holes is the right thing to do.”

A valid point.

Lolley is often at his most destructive when cutting inside onto his favoured left foot, rather than going on the outside of his man.

He is, however, more than capable of filling either post.

Drift

 

And should be allowed to drift and switch as he sees fit.

Working in partnership with Sammy Ameobi or Albert Adomah, the option is there for Forest to shuffle their pack as required.

With Lolley offering the greatest threat when full of energy, confidence and running.

When the bit is between his teeth, he can pop up virtually anywhere at any time.

Which is how it should be when it comes to mercurial talents such as his.

Why put him in any kind of hole, regardless of shape?

Burns is right to suggest that a place on the right may be best when drawing up a starting XI, but he should not be expected to stay there.

The element of surprise is one of the most fearsome weapons in Lolley’s arsenal and he must be allowed to wield that as he sees fit.

Holes need to be found, but he must not be pegged into them.

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