Former Lincoln City boss Michael Appleton has raved about Nottingham Forest forward Brennan Johnson ahead of the play-off final next weekend. Forest take on Huddersfield at Wembley for a place in the Premier League.

Appleton gave Johnson the chance to play regular football last season. He signed for the Imps on a season-long loan from the Reds and helped the club reach the League One play-off final.

Johnson was in fine form during his loan spell. He scored 13 goals and claimed 14 assists during the 2020/21 campaign, growing as a player under the influence of Appleton.

Appleton raves about Johnson
(Photo; Jon Hobley; MI News; NurPhoto; Getty Images)

The manager departed Lincoln at the end of this season. He couldn’t replicate last season’s push towards promotion and departed by mutual consent with Lincoln appointing Mark Kennedy to replace him.


Appleton has been raving about Johnson during an interview with The Athletic. He claims that he’s not been surprised by how the Forest man has performed during the current campaign.

He said: “You could tell straight away he was a match-winner – defenders were scared stiff of him. He’s got electric pace but it’s one thing having that, it’s another knowing how to use it.

“We played over 60 games and he wanted to play in every one of them. That gives you a little bit of a feel for the lad. All we tried to do was give him a bit of freedom. As long as we got the ball to him he’d do the damage.”

Johnson has found the net 19 times during 2021/22; scoring in both legs of the play-off semi-final against Sheffield United. The 21-year-old has also registered 10 assists during his maiden campaign in the Championship.

Appleton raves about Johnson and Forest have a real gem

It’s clear that the versatile forward has a very bright future. Indeed, if Forest don’t beat Huddersfield at the weekend, it could be the last time that Reds supporters see Johnson in action wearing the Garibaldi.

He has featured in every league game during 2021/22, starting all but two fixtures for the Reds. He didn’t start against Stoke away under Chris Hughton and he was on the bench as Forest player Hull on the final day of 2021/22.

Appleton raves about Johnson
(Photo; Jon Hobley; MI News; NurPhoto; Getty Images)

Johnson has grown as a player this year. He was the subject of a failed £20 million bid from Brentford in January and clubs will be forming a queue around the City Ground this summer.

Forest have been fortunate to witness Johnson in action this season. The hope will be that the Reds can win promotion and keep the youngster for the foreseeable.

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