Nottingham Forest defender Jayden Richardson made his debut for Notts County on Saturday and Steve Cooper might have completed a masterstroke.
The Reds have allowed the 21-year-old to join their neighbours on a deal for a month. He played the full 90 minutes as the Magpies thrashed Southend 4-1.
Richardson has made four appearances for Forest during 2021/22. He played both Carabao Cup games and has also stepped off the bench twice in the Championship.
The majority of his game time has come for the under-23s though and it’s fair to say he’s outgrown such a standard.
Last season, the versatile full-back was on loan at Forest Green and helped them reach the play-offs. The year previous he secured a top-seven finish and reached the play-off final with Exeter.
As a result, Richardson is well versed when it comes to men’s football and the next step will be regular Championship action.
It’s not unthinkable that the academy starlet could make an impact at Forest in the New Year.
Forest look set to lose Djed Spence. Middlesbrough boss Chris Wilder has been running the rule over him and could activate a release clause.
Mohamed Drager is a natural replacement but he is playing in what will feel like his hundredth international tournament since checking in at the City Ground!
The Tunisian will be at the AFCON and could be out of club contention for a month.
Challenge: Has Cooper pulled off a Forest masterstroke with Richardson?
Time will tell but there could be some meticulous planning when it comes to Richardson heading to Notts for a month.
Cooper will be aware that he could find himself short of full-backs in the first few weeks of January.
With that in mind, getting Richardson a taste of first-team football at Notts could get his match sharpness up ahead of a Forest chance.
The Reds will almost certainly target a full-back if Spence is recalled but getting one over the line could take some time.
That could see Richardson thrust into the Forest limelight and he’ll be desperate to grasp his chance.
The youngster is out of contract in the summer and as a result, he will almost certainly have a point to prove to Cooper if an opportunity is forthcoming.