Nottingham Forest youngster Jordan Gabriel helped Blackpool to the second round of the FA Cup with a win over Eastbourne Borough at the weekend.
Gabriel has been playing in his regular right-back spot and is developing nicely under the watchful eye of former Liverpool coach Neil Critchley.
Some concerns were raised when the Forest academy graduate was allowed to leave on loan during the summer transfer window.
The 22-year-old actually started the 2020/21 campaign in the Forest team. Sabri Lamouchi opted to start the youngster against Barnsley in the Carabao Cup and at QPR in the Championship curtain-raiser.
Gabriel has been forced to wait patiently for a place in Critchley’s team at Blackpool.
The Forest academy graduate played the full 90 minutes of Sunday’s 3-0 win against the National League North outfit.
Following the game, he earned some nice praise from the Blackpool Gazette.
The player ratings piece claimed: “Steady and his defending was much improved despite his positioning being questioned by Neil Critchley late on.”
The Verdict – Gabriel still has work to do but signs look good
The comment from the local newspaper which follows Blackpool suggests that Gabriel has looked suspect defensively.
In fairness, he did receive some similar critique from his first two Forest appearances so there is work to do in that sense.
The fact he improved and enjoyed a steady afternoon is a good sign, however.
One important factor of Gabriel’s loan is playing plenty of football at Bloomfield Road.
He hasn’t really pinned down a regular place in the team just yet and that will be the challenge for Gabriel.
If he can do that and continue to improve, he will give himself every chance of making another impact at Forest.