Nottingham Forest take on Middlesbrough in the Championship this evening and will have to do it without right back Djed Spence.
Forest lost 2-1 at home to Cardiff City on Sunday, squandering a 1-0 lead at the City Ground.
With one point from six games, Forest are already four points adrift in the battle for Championship safety.
Chris Hughton needs a big result tonight to keep his job, but faces problems at right back.
Spence showed promise on his Forest debut – but now there’s a problem
Forest gave a debut to right back Spence against Cardiff having signed him on loan from Middlesbrough on deadline day.
Spence showed promise both going forward and defensively. He and left back Max Lowe were two of very few players to impress in the defeat.
The problem tonight is that Spence can’t actually play.
Spence is ineligible to play against his parent club due to the terms of his loan deal.
Jordi Osei-Tutu is injured and Mohamed Drager is isolating. Somehow, Forest brought in three right backs this summer and none of them can play tonight.
Teenager Fin Back may be needed in that role as Hughton looks to deal with Spence’s absence.
Warnock verdict on Spence
Boro boss Neil Warnock may be glad that Spence is out.
Sure, Warnock allowed Spence to make the move to Forest in the first place, but he has spoken highly of him in the past.
Warnock told the Hartlepool Mail last year that Spence reminds him of three Premier League regulars from recent years.
Warnock likened Spence to Trent Alexander-Arnold, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Nathaniel Clyne.
Clyne may not be at the same level, but he did play for Liverpool before losing his place to Alexander-Arnold.
That’s high praise for Spence, and whilst Forest will be excited to see him this season, he will have to miss out tonight.