In the space of 16 days between December 21 and January 5, Nottingham Forest took in five games – so almost one every three days.

A further three outings had been taken in prior to that in the final month of 2019.

Key men figured prominently throughout that run, as you would expect.

Lewis Grabban, as the only proven frontman on the club’s books, missed only 69 minutes of Championship action.

He was rested from the start at Millwall and taken off late against Wigan.

The 31-year-old striker has rather been run into the ground.

Sabri Lamouchi has had no choice, with Rafa Mir fluffing his lines when given a chance to prove that he could be an able deputy.

Grabban is not the only one, though, to have been a mainstay in the side.

Joe Worrall and Ben Watson have started every second tier fixture for Forest this season.

Sammy Ameobi has figured at some stage in all 25, as has Tiago Silva.


(Photo by Jon Hobley/ MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Matty Cash has completely sat out only one game, while Joe Lolley has graced 23.

Even Brice Samba, who started the campaign behind Aro Muric, is now up to 20 Championship appearances for the campaign.

None of the regulars mentioned above figured in the 2-0 FA Cup third round defeat at Chelsea.

Much-needed rests were handed out to tiring bodies and minds.

That break could prove very timely for Forest.

Having seen the hectic festive schedule do them few favours, vital cogs in the machine have now had nine days in which to put their feet up.

That should ensure that all are fit and firing when a trip to Reading is taken in on Saturday.

Grabban, Worrall, Lolley and Co helped the Reds to enjoy a productive run around the turn of the year.

Three successive victories have Lamouchi’s men sat fourth in the table with a game in hand.

An outing against Premeir League opponents at Stamford Bridge was always going to be written off.

It was a free hit.


Would it have been nice to claim a top flight scalp? Of course.

Is anybody overly concerned that it wasn’t, with VAR playing its part? Not especially.

The real business starts again this weekend.

Championship points are the bread and butter for Forest.

Anything else is an unwelcome distraction.

A solid core has helped to put the Reds in contention for a return to the top tier at the start of a new decade.

They will continue to have a vital role to play over the coming weeks, regardless of any business done in the January transfer window.

It would, however, have been foolish to expect them to keep going to the well and for it not to run dry.

Such a situation has been avoided, for now.

It is not often that you can find benefits in a run which reads ‘none in nine’, but Forest have found some early in 2020 and are as well placed as they could hope to be to kick on from this point.

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