The shackles have come off at Nottingham Forest under Steve Cooper, with several players enjoying a new lease of life.
One man who appears to now be thriving is Ryan Yates. The academy graduate has proved a decisive figure among supporters and consistency has been a problem.
Now, he’s starting to silence his critics. On Saturday as Forest won 2-1 against Blackpool he turned in his best performance of the season in front of the City Ground faithful.
Some of the criticism levelled at Yates has been justified. He was playing every game at the start of the season and it’s fair to say he just wasn’t playing well enough.
Forest were losing and games often bypassed him in the midfield engine room. Now, there is real hope that Yates can kick on and become integral at the City Ground.
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Some statistics certainly showcased a vast improvement from Yates during Saturday’s win for Forest.
Who Scored show that the 23-year-old made three key passes, whilst he also completed all seven of his attempted long balls. His pass success rate over the course of the game was an impressive 93%.
Defensively he was sound too. He made three interceptions, three clearances and two tackles throughout his 90 minutes on the pitch.
Potential star: Yates must show Forest consistency
With 94 games to his name, it is time for Yates to start showing this level of performance on a regular basis. Indeed, since Cooper arrived at the club, the academy man has been fantastic.
He will still need to produce the good on a more frequent basis but perhaps having a head coach is better for Yates than having a manager.
Clearly, his midfield talents need unleashing and Cooper now plays a style that seems to let the shackles off several players; including Yates.
Right now, there is enough to suggest that the new head coach is arguably the perfect coach at the perfect time for this stage of Yates’ career.
It will take more than four games to convince some people of his long-term future. At 23, however, he still has some potential to improve and if he can maintain this current form, it’ll bode seriously well for Forest.