Joe Lolley has admitted to playing with a broken toe early in the 2019-20 campaign, but Nottingham Forest have bent him back into place.

The Reds winger did look a shadow of his usual self at the start of the season.

An energetic presence has been relied upon to deliver end product throughout his time on Trentside.

When his spark fizzles out, there is no hiding place.

Various reasons were offered for a slight dip this term.

Had Lolley’s head been turned by transfer talk over the summer?

Was another new system with Sabri Lamouchi calling the shots set up to get the best out of him?

Answers have been delivered in style.

You would expect nothing less from a man with a penchant for the spectacular.

Productive

Original Image: NFFC/Graphic Design: Beth Davenport

Once again, on the back of a productive start to a new year, there ain’t nobody like Joe Lolley.

The man himself has been talking to Sky Sports.

He has said: “I did get a little bit of stick at the beginning.

“I think sometimes the expectations are high. It seems like I’m making excuses but, for example, I had a broken toe at the start of the season for a few months and it was difficult.

“I wasn’t really training much and I lost a lot of sharpness. At that time I wasn’t playing at my best but I knew, once I started getting back into my stride, everything would happen naturally. It’s been nice to get back to the levels I wanted to be at.

“I think I’d been playing well leading up to the New Year and it was a bit frustrating at times because things weren’t going in or leading to goals like you want as an attacking player.

“But I always kept confidence and knew if I kept playing well, things would fall and it has done, I guess, naturally, without even realising.

“Hopefully that continues because it’s only going to help us climb the table.

“We’ve got a lot of good players so if we are, defensively, pretty sound, the if likes of me, Grabbs (Lewis Grabban) and Sammy (Ameobi), can score, we’re going to win a lot more games than we’re going to lose.”

Burden

 

True story.

If Forest can get their forwards firing, then a return to the Premier League is there to be shot at.

Lolley will be expected to lead the way.

Grabban is all about end product, but those around him need to offer a bit of everything.

A proven frontman cannot be expected to carry a goalscoring burden by himself.

Neither should he be relied upon to keep opposition defences on their toes.

Lolley is a willing accomplice.

He has been doing plenty of plundering of late.

Being back to full working order has unsurprisingly aided that cause, with even players of his class seeing their powers wane when forced to operate on one leg.

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