Andy Reid has heaped praise on Nottingham Forest star Joe Lolley following his performance in Monday’s 4-1 win over Blackburn in the Under-23 Premier League Cup. The Reds winger returned from illness to score two and set another goal up in the comprehensive victory.
Ateef Konate and Will Swan scored the other two goals. It was, however, Lolley’s return that caught the eye. Indeed, Chris Hughton will be hoping he can rediscover some form with Forest winless in the Championship this season.
Lolley struggled for fitness during 2020/21. He managed just one goal and one assist with a flare-up of an ongoing shin problem rearing its ugly head. He did look sharp in pre-season, however, before being struck down with an illness.
At 29, the time has come for Lolley to stamp his authority back on the Forest team. Reid has no doubts of his ability and has raved about the versatile forward in the aftermath of Monday’s win for his side.
He told The Athletic: “I have absolutely no doubt about it – Joe can get back to being one of the best players in the Championship. Not a lot of players in the league have got what he’s got, to be honest. If you give him the freedom he will show that.
“I’m really pleased for him. I know the levels are different but you cannot replicate going out on a pitch and playing a game, no matter what level it’s at. I thought Joe was excellent.”
A fit and firing Lolley can be like a new signing for Forest
Some supporters have given Lolley some unnecessary criticism in recent seasons and that seems somewhat unfair. The Reds performer has struggled with injuries and he will hope he is over those now.
One thing that can be said about Lolley is that he always seems to care about the football club. He is one player who looks visibly frustrated when things don’t go his way on the field.
Since arriving at the City Ground he has often been Forest’s match-winner and everyone will hope he can show such form once again.
The Reds are already playing catch up at the bottom of the Championship. As a result, having Lolley fit and firing would be a significant plus for Hughton.