Nottingham Forest were right to be “selfish” when it came to bringing Tyler Walker back to the club, says Colin Barrett, with the option now there to play with two up top.
The Reds legend is hoping to see Sabri Lamouchi adopt that approach at some stage.
A loan frontman system has been favoured so far, but that is down to a lack of options as much as tactical blueprints.
There are now two 16-goal strikers at the City Ground, with Walker returned from a loan spell at Lincoln, and Barrett believes the correct calls were made in the January transfer window.
The European Cup winner told Nottingham Forest News: “Whether they did miss the boat… it’s alright saying they should have gone for [Dwight] Gayle or the lad at Brighton [Glenn Murray] but I don’t think they were available.
“People don’t want to get rid of their strikers and you have got to pay big money if they are going to release them.
“I’m really pleased that they brought Tyler back because they need another body in there. It might be selfish from Forest’s point of view but they have done the right thing. Tyler has done it at Mansfield in the lower league and then got up a league and done it again at Lincoln. I think it’s the right thing to do.”
Barrett added on a home-grown talent who is coming of age: “He’s 23 but he’s bulked out. He’s played two seasons now and played in ‘proper’ football matches, games where their livelihood depends on it.
“It’s alright playing U23s and learning your game but when you are playing in front of fans every week that demand an awful lot and it’s not 200 spectators, it’s a massive bonus. He’s done all that, he’s played against seasoned pros and played in two tough leagues. I think he has acquitted himself well.”
Walker finds himself back in familiar surroundings, and alongside fellow new boy Nuno Da Costa, sitting patiently behind top marksman Lewis Grabban in the pecking order.
Could Forest change their approach?
“It seems as if Lamouchi doesn’t want to change the style of play, he only plays one up front and two wide lads,” said Barrett.
“Very rarely does he play with two strikers. Even if he plays with three up, he only goes with one down the middle. It’s just a case of bringing Grabban off and putting one of the other strikers on.
“The unfortunate thing for these strikers is that they come in, including Tyler, and the supporters expect that as soon as he comes on he’s going to score. That’s the nature of the beast. They wanted another striker and there is a demand that he scores straight away. That’s just the way it goes. The lad [Rafa] Mir that they sent back, he might have been a decent player but unfortunately you are judged as a striker on the goals you score.”
It will be easier for Walker to deliver on expectations if he sees plenty of minutes and the odd start.
Lamouchi has offered no indication that he will be going with a strike pairing, but Barrett believes that is something he should consider.
He added: “There are occasions in the game, when things aren’t working out, you have to put more strikers on – you have to score more goals than the opposition. I think there are occasions when he could tweak things that way.
“He has got enough talent in his squad to play with two up front. You could go 4-2-4 and cause problems for the opposition. It’s a brave thing to do but I think he could do that.
“You can’t argue with what Grabban is doing, he’s got the majority of the goals. You could argue about his work rate, this, that and the other, he doesn’t help out etc, but he scores goals and you just can’t replace that.”
Forest, who sit fourth in the table as things stand, will be back on the goal trail on Saturday when they play host to fellow promotion hopefuls Leeds.