Nottingham Forest weren’t at their best during a 2-2 draw against Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium last night.
Although Ryan Yates opened the scoring for the Reds they trailed at the break thanks to goals by Rudy Gestede and Lewis Wing.
With 20 minutes to play, Joao Carvalho was introduced and he helped Forest back into the game. Lewis Grabban pouncing late on to earn a share of the spoils.
Following the game, Nottingham Forest News looked at five talking points from the contest
Prior to last night. the 28-year-old hadn’t featured at all since a 4-0 win over Wigan Athletic back in November.
It would have been forgiven had the former Tottenham starlet looked somewhat rusty but he looked anything but.
The midfielder put Forest on the front foot and showed several neat touches to get the Reds moving in the right direction.
On the showing of last night it seems strange he hasn’t featured more in Sabri Lamouchi’s team and he will hope his 12-minute cameo earns him more opportunities to impress.
Another mystery in recent weeks has been the decision not to hand Joao Carvalho more of a chance, particularly when chasing a game.
Lamouchi has Forest fourth in the league and clearly knows what he is doing but nonetheless, some supporters would like to see the 22-year-old more.
Last night demonstrated exactly why certain fans feel he deserves more of a chance to shine.
He offered more creativity in 20 minutes than any other player did before his introduction and his delivery into the box at set-pieces was particularly good.
On the showing of last night, he deserves a start on Friday and it’ll be interesting to see if Lamouchi thinks he has done enough.
Silva a big loss
Sometimes you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone and that was the case with the omission of Tiago Silva at Boro.
The 26-year-old will be missing for a few weeks and Forest must find a winning formula in his absence.
Although Silva would have liked more goals and assists this season, his creativity in the final third and ability to put his foot on the ball was sorely missed.
Last night was the first game that he maestro has missed this season and his absence was felt.
Alfa Semedo didn’t really do a job of replacing him and it could be a case of back to the drawing board for Lamouchi.
Grabban back in the goals
It had been six long games for Lewis Grabban prior to last night but he stayed true to his task and thoroughly deserved his 17th goal of the campaign.
With little in reserve, the pressure is on the 31-year-old to keep firing Forest towards Championship points.
He did miss a good chance last night but his goal was clever and epitomised the kind of striker he is.
It goes without saying that Grabban is vitally important to Forest and his work rate was particularly impressive at the Riverside Stadium.
In the past, his application has been questioned by some supporters but this season he has well and truly blown such a theory out of the water.
Four points from two away trips to Cardiff City and Middlesbrough is a steady return.
Forest’s hopes of automatic promotion are perhaps evaporating but ultimately the key now is to find some form ahead of the play-offs.
The last thing Forest want to be doing is limping to the required points mark for a top-six spot and then being badly lacking in confidence for the play-off games.
Lamouchi will know that the last 10 games are vitally important and a win against Millwall on Friday can hopefully provide the catalyst to continue on a mini end of season run.