Former Derby County striker Darren Bent has raved about Nottingham Forest defender Joe Worrall in his weekly piece for The Times.
As a former Ram, Bent couldn’t resist putting a downer on Forest’s good form, however, stating that he thinks the top two is ‘out of reach’ for Sabri Lamouchi’s team.
Worrall came in for some far kinder words though and Bent has been very impressed with the centre-back.
The academy graduate is an ever-present for the Reds this season and Bent believes his loan spell at Rangers has clearly paid dividends.
He told The Times: “Beating Leeds on Saturday was a big moment, especially because it underlined the importance of keeping Joe Worrall away from bigger clubs last month.
“The defender is strong, decisive and has proved to be a leader. He returned from a loan spell at Rangers last season more polished and mature.
“It’s those attributes that have made him key to Sabri Lamouchi’s team.”
Worrall has returned to Forest a much better than when he left. The experience of playing regular football has clearly benefitted the youngster.
He has formed a brilliant partnership with Tobias Figueiredo in recent weeks and both centre-backs were excellent against Leeds.
Bent doesn’t think Worrall can lead Forest over the line to automatic promotion, however.
The former Derby man has backed West Brom to win the league, with Fulham to claim the other automatic promotion place.
Bent then thinks Leeds will finish third, with Brentford in fourth, Forest down in fifth and Bristol City completing the play-off places.
Forest’s big incentive to win promotion is that it would prove pretty much every pundit currently covering Championship football wrong.
All season the Reds have slipped under the radar and very few, if any, fancy Lamouchi’s team to be good enough to get the job done.
There will be lots of twists and turns between now and May but Forest must just continue ticking the games off and picking up points as they have done all season.
With Worrall fit and at his combative best, the Reds might just have as much chance as anyone else of claiming a top-two place.