Michael Dawson is back to full fitness at Nottingham Forest and may just have won a starting berth back for good.

The 36-year-old has had to be patient since stepping off the treatment table.

Having taken in an enforced break, the Reds’ club captain has had to earn favour all over again.

He was one of the first names on the team sheet prior to hobbling off at Stoke.

A productive partnership had been struck up with Joe Worrall at the heart of the back four.

Best laid plans were then thrown up into the air.

Fortunately, Forest boast plenty of capable cover within their ranks.

Chema and Tobias Figueiredo were the go-to men for Sabri Lamouchi with his skipper sidelined.

Initially, centre-half duties were shared between two Iberian rivals.

Portuguese power eventually won out.

Figueiredo has, having impressed across his spell at the City Ground, done little wrong when called upon.


(Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

He may, however, be heading back to a support role.

That is when reading between the lines of events at Millwall at Friday night.

In that contest, rather out of the blue, Lamouchi opted to go with a three-man defence.

The experiment, it is fair to say, did not really work.

The Reds looked more than a little out-of-sorts during the first half at The Den.

Eventually, in the 57th minute, the decision was taken to revert back to a tried and tested system.

The man to make way? Figueiredo.

Come in No.3, your time is up.

Lamouchi could have just as easily opted to withdraw Dawson, given his lack of game time over recent weeks.

He didn’t.


A seasoned veteran was given the full 90 minutes in London, back alongside fellow academy graduate Worrall.

Is that pairing the preferred choice once more?

The dropping of team sheets against Middlesbrough on Tuesday should answer that question.

It would be a surprise, and rather baffling, were Lamouchi to go with a 3-5-2 approach again.

We are likely to have seen the last of that.

And potentially a few of those who figured in said formation last time out.

The hauling off of Rafa Mir, and subsequent two-goal salvo of Lewis Grabban, has reiterated the need to avoid rotation up top.

The Spanish frontman may not be the only one slipping down the pecking order though.

Given that Figueiredo was also replaced, the Portuguese could have another selection fight on his hands.

Games are about to come thick and fast, while Dawson has been unable to steer clear of the physio room, so more opportunities will probably be found.

For now, though, it would appear that those who started the season so positively are going to be given the chance to deliver a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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