Joe Lolley has found himself out of the Nottingham Forest reckoning during 2021/22. He has, however, thanked Steve Cooper for keeping his spirits high during a period out injured.

On Sunday, Lolley made his first start for Forest since November. He played 65 minutes as the Reds were knocked out of the FA Cup by Liverpool and did pretty well.

The 29-year-old has struggled with rotten injury luck in the last 18 months. As a result, his game has struggled somewhat and it’s proved a frustrating period.

Nottingham Forest v Liverpool: The Emirates FA Cup Quarter Final
Photo; Jon Hobley; MI News; NurPhoto; Getty Images)

Given that he’s spent so long on the treatment table, he’s had to wait for a starting berth. He came off the bench against Sheffield United and QPR but only briefly in both games.

If any player in the current squad deserved a start against Liverpool it was Lolley. He’s served Forest well over the years and during the 2018/19 campaign, he was pretty much unplayable.

Following his first start since November, Lolley has heaped praise on Cooper. He told Nottinghamshire Live that the head coach has been great with him during his time out of the team.

He said: “The manager does speak to the players. He probably sees when people are a little bit down and just them up a bit, makes sure they’re ready. He’s good at that.

“That’s a credit to him, and also to the players for doing their job well when they’ve come on.

“I haven’t been too involved and it does knock your confidence a bit. Getting some touches of the ball and doing positive things, it’s nice for me.”

Lolley can be like a new signing for Forest

The 29-year-old’s game has changed a bit in recent times. He’s not the free dribbling player he once was but he is capable of brilliance in small doses.

During Forest’s bad times, Lolley was one player who continued to stand tall. He has always looked like the sort of player that cares deeply about doing well for the club.

Nottingham Forest v Liverpool: The Emirates FA Cup Quarter Final
(Photo; Jon Hobley; MI News; NurPhoto; Getty Images)

If Lolley can stay fit and get some games under his belt, he could have a big impact this season still.

Forest have 10 games left to play and Cooper knows he will need all of this squad to step up at some point in the coming months.

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