Nottingham Forest’s under-23 outfit were defeated 2-1 by Wigan Athletic yesterday, with Ateef Konate a glaring omission from Andy Reid’s team.
The French midfielder has been in fine form for the Reds youngsters this season but wasn’t involved against the Latics.
Konate arrived at the City Ground from Le Havre in the summer and has quickly settled in at the Nigel Doughty Academy.
The 19-year-old has been virtually ever-present for the under-23s this season, scoring six goals during his maiden campaign.
Konate made an appearance for Le Havre before his departure. He came on as a substitute during a Coupe De France defeat to USL Dunkerque.
He arrived in England with a decent reputation and has hit the ground running as he tries to prove his worth.
With Forest nursing so many injuries in midfield, speculation has begun over whether Konate is in line for a first-team chance.
Ryan Yates, Harry Arter and Jack Colback are all injured, with Samba Sow and Cafu the only senior options at present.
Based on his stats from the under-23 games he has played, Konate is very much a player who loves to get himself into positions to score goals from midfield.
Ultimately, it seems as though he offers attributes that Forest have been lacking and Hughton is perhaps aware of that.
Should opportunity knock for Konate?
At this moment in time it’s hard to see a case where he doesn’t deserve a chance.
He is playing well for the under-23s and Forest are in the middle of a crisis in midfield.
Konate is capable of scoring goals and also has a superb range of passing, making him the ideal player for the Reds’ midfield.
There is no suggestion at this stage that he is training with the first-team and he could well have missed out yesterday through injury.
If he is with the first-team, however, it would be thoroughly deserved and would go a long way towards appeasing a disgruntled fan base.