Dexter injury highlights ever-growing need

by , November 25, 2010

For someone who has pursued a career in football, who has been involved at the very centre of a successful period at a club moving forward and challenging for honours, the career-threatening injury must be the absolute worst-case scenario.

Dexter Blackstock deserves all of our sympathies, and whilst we have not yet heard the outcome of his latest scans and tests, the prognosis is unlikely to be good. The injury to Blackstock leaves Forest missing their most reliable striker in terms of fitness, and second most reliable in terms of goals. Further to this, Dexter’s injury highlights the Reds’ ever-growing need for further strength up front if they wish to progress and truly challenge for promotion.

Dele Adebola has had a recent renaissance in a Forest shirt despite the tiresome abuse from a Forest crowd that doesn’t feel comfortable unless they have at least one player to lambast as utterly useless. Such analysts have been in the large part correct about Adebola’s limited contribution, although the manner and outspoken nature of the criticism and the groans that accompany his taking to the field are far from necessary. In recent matches, Adebola has had to play a far more significant part in games, coming off the bench against Q.P.R and was the man who looked likely to change the game with his strength, link up play, and on this occasion the ability to see a ball in behind the opposition defenders. The following game, against Cardiff, Adebola found himself in the starting lineup, and was again a solid contributor to a decent team performance and excellent result.

However, whilst Adebola’s improvement is of very definite note, and he looks to be able to play a genuine part in a rotating strike force, he cannot be asked to play two games in a week, certainly not starting, and ideally he should be a weapon used from the bench to provide tired defenders with a new threat.

Robert Earnshaw is Forest’s best striker, best player even perhaps, but it seems that at the moment he cannot be completely relied upon. Earnshaw could be accused of being injury prone, and whilst he generally delivers in a Forest shirt, a goal-scorer who is not only talented enough to score 25 goals a season, but capable of doing so fitness wise, could be the key to promotion from this league. However, having said this, there aren’t many of those players in this division, Chopra and Bothroyd aside, so three or four strikers capable of notching double figures could do the job. It is my belief that we need at least one more high quality forward in the squad to fulfill that job.

David McGoldrick has shown enough in his limited performances so far this year to impress his potential on the spectator. Looking comfortable in the deeper No.10 role, McGoldrick’s link-up play is good and he has actually done quite well when asked to plough a lone furrow up front. However, as is the crux of the article, McGoldrick is a one-of-many, rotation striker. He’s not currently good enough to handle the mantle of top striker at a club looking to progress out of the Championship.

Many fans may tout Joe Garner as the solution the lack of firepower at the club. Currently enjoying, for want of a better word, a loan spell at Huddersfield, Garner has shown very definite signs of genuine ability for the Reds on the occasions that he was given the stage to shine. Scoring memorable goals against the likes of Southampton, Garner obviously has something about him. However, there is also something clearly lacking. Vague though my analysis is in this area, there are no hard facts to draw in the Garner case. A talented young footballer who seems to be unable to keep his on-the-pitch attitude in check, Garner could be another in the conveyor belt of lost football talent. One would hope that Garner can make a major contribution to Forest success, but I certainly don’t think this is his season.

It is without doubt that Forest need more goals in the side, relying heavily on McGugan as well as Majewski and Cohen to a lesser extent. A striker in January is a must, but in the final hours of the loan window, with deals being talked about, particularly a bid for Marcus Tudgay, a small light of hope is shining, and if possible it would make sense not to wait until January to add talent to the forward ranks.