The central defensive department at Nottingham Forest is extremely healthy and in Steve Cook, the Reds look to have hit the jackpot.
The former Bournemouth player checked in at the City Ground earlier this month after ending a 10-year association with the Cherries.
Eyebrows were raised when the Reds managed to get a deal to sign him over the line. Plenty of fans felt that another centre-back wasn’t overly needed in Steve Cooper’s squad.
After four games in the Garibaldi, there won’t be a single supporter who remains sceptical about why he was added to the ranks.
Last night he helped the Reds to a third clean sheet in four matches. The only goal Forest have conceded in that time did come from a rare lapse in concentration which led to Cook giving a penalty away against Derby.
Still, Cook has been nothing short of a revelation. Last night, Sofa Score provided some statistics that showcased just how superb the 30-year-old was.
The defender won eight of 11 aerial duels he contested for, with Scott McKenna also winning the same amount.
Against Barnsley, he also made seven clearances to preserve a clean sheet for Forest against a dogged relegation-threatened outfit.
Playing out from the back isn’t something that Cook is averse to either. During last night’s 90 minutes, 40 of his 48 passes were successful giving him an 83% success ratio.
Experience: Cook will quickly become Forest fan favourite
To say he’d made just three appearances during 2021/22 prior to arriving at the City Ground, Cook’s start to life at the club has been magnificent.
Plenty had written him off before a ball was kicked. With Joe Worrall picking up an injury it’s perhaps a good thing that Forest did identify him early in the window.
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Cooper enjoys playing with three at the back and Cook does allow him the versatility to play a two or three-man central defensive unit.
It’s early days but it’s already abundantly clear why the Reds went out and signed Cook ahead of other interested parties.
His promotion-winning expertise could be vital in the coming months and Cooper looks to have hit the jackpot.