Nottingham Forest drew with Notts County last night in a penultimate friendly contest for a second-string Reds outfit.
The Reds head coach Steve Cooper made the decision not to take a strong squad to Meadow Lane to compete for local bragging rights.
Giulian Biancone was the only summer signing that featured a lot of fringe players getting some badly needed game time.
Forest led the contest twice. Sam Surridge and Cafu scored for the Reds with Macauley Langstaff and Rob Austin netting the Magpies.
Following last night’s share of the spoils, we dusted off the Forest notebook and looked at four things we learned.
Forest have little in reserve
A lack of options is evident. This was a pretty lacklustre display from a group of players who you would think have a point to prove.
There proved very little to shout about from a Reds perspective and the experienced lads who featured last night might find themselves moving on.
Lyle Taylor did very little, Richie Laryea looked extremely rusty, whilst Braian Ojeda was hooked at half-time by Cooper.
All three of those could feasibly move out on loan before the season starts and they could have very few complaints.
Cafu > Lewis McGugan
Okay, maybe that’s a stretch. His free-kick was right out of the former midfielder’s scrapbook though and it was a goal befitting of winning any game.
Cafu didn’t play bad throughout the contest. Perhaps he isn’t quite good enough to be playing Premier League football but he seems like a good professional to have in the dressing room.
The 29-year-old might be a good player to keep around the squad amid a young group of players.
His goal at Meadow Lane was a real beauty and if he does get a chance there’s an impression that he won’t let anyone down.
Smith howler means Reds slipped up
Having a 27-year-old as a third-choice goalkeeper doesn’t make a deal of sense. That role would be better going to a younger player with one eye on the future.
The Reds stopper is a model professional; nobody would doubt that. It’s evident that not playing regularly is hampering his ability, however.
Forest chose to give him a new deal at the end of last season and 2022/23 will prove another season where he doesn’t play any football.
His howler last night that allowed Austin to score highlights that Forest were wrong to give him a new deal and Smith is desperately craving football.
The future is bright
Aaron Donnelly started the clash and looked bright, whilst Oliver Hammond and Dale Taylor both also look like future stars.
The youngsters are the pride of the football club. Last season was an amazing time of things for the club’s under-23s and under-18s as they both enjoyed good campaigns.
Cooper is a master when it comes to nurturing younger players. With Premier League football not at the City Ground, perhaps it will be harder to blend some of them in.
Ultimately, the likes of Donnelly, Taylor and Hammond are ready for senior action and perhaps loan moves will be sought for the trio.