Nottingham Forest return to action this weekend and both Steve Clarke and Rob Page have done Chris Hughton a big favour.
Scott McKenna and Brennan Johnson were called up for Scotland and Wales respectively, with the World Cup qualifiers reaching the business stage.
Both players have played pivotal parts of the 2021/22 campaign for Forest. Each player has featured in all five Championship fixtures for the Reds and Hughton will hope to call upon both against Cardiff this weekend.
The international managers have come up trumps from a Forest perspective over the last couple of days.
McKenna was an unused substitute for Scotland’s magnificent 1-0 win over Austria. He also failed to get on the pitch during the win over Moldova and should return nice and rested.
The 24-year-old didn’t have the best injury record during 2020/21. He spent some time on the sidelines and supporters would love to see a partnership with Joe Worrall flourish this time around.
Johnson has caught the eye during his time with Wales. He started for the first time during a 0-0 draw with Finland. He then earned a start in a competitive fixture for the first time; playing just over an hour as Page’s men beat Belarus.
Last night, like McKenna on Tuesday, Johnson wasn’t called upon. He too sat nice and rested on the bench and will today return to Nottingham ahead of Sunday’s game.
McKenna and Johnson integral to Forest – and Hughton
It’s always refreshing to see Reds starts doing well on the international stage. Both McKenna and Johnson have played some football during their time away from the City Ground and that is a good thing.
However, it’s even better that neither player has featured in the game prior to a massive home fixture for the Reds. Both have avoided injury and should now be involved against the Bluebirds.
Hughton is facing a real fight to turn things around at Forest. He hasn’t overseen a win since Easter Monday and his position will surely be under scrutiny.
If he does lead the Reds to a vital three points this weekend, he owes Clarke and Page a firm thank you.