Nottingham Forest midfielder Cafu offered a timely reminder of his quality on Saturday and he could be rewarded with more game time.
The Reds warrior has waited patiently for a proper crack of the whip and that came during the weekend’s win over Reading.
When Max Lowe went down holding his groin, Steve Cooper called for Cafu to get ready with Jack Colback moving from midfield to left-back.
The 29-year-old has made nine appearances in the Championship this season but only one of those has come as part of the starting eleven.
That came back in August when Chris Hughton was the manager. Forest were beaten 1-0 by Stoke City in a drab performance.
Prior to Saturday, he’d not been introduced before the 67th minute in any Forest clash under Cooper’s stewardship.
That changed though at the weekend. Cafu seemed to enjoy his 49 minutes on the pitch as he was given the freedom to shine.
Cafu’s delicate flick released Xande Silva in the 80th minute. It was sublime and his compatriot’s cross gave Sam Surridge a tap-in.
It was a moment of brilliance by Cafu and showcased that he is still capable of doing a job for the club if called upon.
The 29-year-old won’t have been happy with his game time this season. Clearly, he’s still been putting in the hard yards behind the scenes though.
Cafu grasps opportunity to star for Forest
It would have been easy for Cooper to drop Garner back into midfield and put Silva on earlier. Alex Mighten and Joe Lolley were also sat on the bench.
The fact that the boss turned to Cafu, however, perhaps speaks volumes. He’s obviously working hard in training and Cooper won’t have been disappointed by him on Saturday.
If Colback plays left-back against QPR this week, it’s not completely out of the question that Cafu will earn a start.
Cooper seems to fancy Garner playing as a number 10 and he could choose that option again if Philip Zinckernagel is unavailable.
Cafu made 33 appearances last season. Under Hughton, however, it proved a challenge for each player in the squad.
Saturday saw the Portuguese player offer a reminder of his quality and it’s great to see that Cooper has quite clearly improved yet another player.