Nottingham Forest head coach Steve Cooper has raved about Ethan Horvath for his performance during a 0-0 draw against Preston North End last night.

The American came in for a first league start since September and produced a classy display to preserve a clean sheet.

Horvath had previously kept goal in three games. His last came during Chris Hughton’s final game in charge; a 2-0 defeat to Middlesbrough.

The 26-year-old didn’t let anyone down and clearly, he’s feeling confident despite playing second fiddle to Brice Samba all season.

Forest Horvath
(Photo; Jon Hobley; MI News; NurPhoto; Getty Images)

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The Congolese stopper will also miss the next two games through suspension and Horvath will be pleased to get more game time.

Cooper was impressed with his stand-in goalkeeper and after a disappointing night in the North West, he raved about him.

He told Nottinghamshire Live: “He was excellent. Some of the boys know they played below their levels, as individuals. That’s a good sign, that they’ve come in disappointed.

“But not Ethan. I thought he was excellent. He made a good save in the second half, and with the chance just after, he’s forced the ball wide of the goal.

“He looked strong. They had a lot of corners but he looked like a real presence. Credit to him, he works so hard, comes in on his days off and is a really positive guy.”

Class: Horvath proves his worth to Forest

Supporters will be delighted with Cooper’s comments on Horvath. Any player who continues working hard, even on their days off, is bound to warm themselves to the fan base.

This was a performance that put his mistake to Middlesbrough firmly to bed. That was clearly a blip and to produce such a display after so long on the sidelines is testament to Horvath.

He did show presence between the posts and commanded his box particularly well in the closing stages. His distribution could perhaps do with some work but then the Reds are blessed with Samba in that sense.

Forest Horvath
(Photo; Jon Hobley; MI News; NurPhoto; Getty Images)

Many supporters held reservations about Samba being ruled out for three matches. Given Horvath’s showing last night, however, they do look to be in safe hands for the next two matches at least.

The American will want to produce two more solid showings in the next week or so.

If he does that, Cooper will have a big decision to make for the Huddersfield game in the FA Cup, when Samba will be free to make a return.

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