Patience needed over Ben Brereton’s progress as Nottingham Forest target top six place when they go to Reading


Nottingham Forest go to Reading looking to make it three wins in a row with the possibility of climbing into the top six of the Championship up for grabs.

Although they are 11th, their current standing in the table dictates the season so far must be considered a success. Surely no fan needs reminding Forest only stayed up on goal difference last term.

Homegrown players have been central to their resurgence with Jordan Smith, Joe Worrall and Ben Osborn all playing valuable roles in the first 14 league games so far.

As someone who earned his coaching stripes in Academies, manager Mark Warburton is understandably delighted to see youth flourishing.

Players who have been drafted in have also shone with Kieran Dowell scoring all three goals in the win at Hull on Saturday, while Worrall was the next best player on the pitch.

However, the importance and influence of senior players such as David Vaughan, Michael Mancienne and Liam Bridcutt is not lost on the Reds boss.

Nottingham Forest’s Joe Worrall celebrates after the 3-2 win against Hull

“I love working with young players. My background is through academies,” he said.

“I love seeing young players get their chance. Two things though; firstly they’ve got to be good enough.

“Second, don’t forget the role of senior pros. The verbal volleys now and again to put them in their place are so important.

“There’s so much at stake every game. I love to see young players getting their chance but you have to get the balance right.

“If you get the right young players they play with a fearlessness. Sometimes senior players are more aware.

“They’ve had the good times and the bad ones. They’re not damaged, but they’re experienced.

“The young ones are hungry. I look at Matty Cash and he loves coming here every day. He’s desperate to play football.

“That energy and enthusiasm is vital. Senior players know more about the game. They’ve seen more and know what the game is about.

“They have families and domestic issues. That’s not just in football, it’s in every job.

“You have to give all players the best environment to their development.”

Daryl Murphy in the thick of the action for Forest

While Dowell and Worrall were front and centre on Saturday, Ben Brereton was left on the bench as Jason Cummings was chosen to lead the line in the absence of an injured Daryl Murphy.

Tyler Walker then got the nod to come off the bench ahead of England Under-19 international Brereton, who has not played since the win over Sheffield United on September 30.

Warburton says it is important for Brereton to stay patient with Matty Cash in the same position as he awaits his chance after recovering from an ankle injury suffered in pre-season.

“They’re young players. Ben Brereton has had an awful lot of pitch time for an 18-year-old. He’s done fantastically well,” Warburton said.

“Matty Cash has been frustrated by an injury picked up after a really good pre-season.

“He’s fit again and chomping to get involved.

“There’s only 11 who can start and 18 can be in the squad. If you have 24 fit players then six will be disappointed.

“That’s the nature of it. You have to work hard and be the best you can be every single day.

“If you sulk or mope then it won’t get you anywhere.”

Reading boss Jaap Stam

Brereton might have to wait a little longer for his opportunity, given Forest’s impressive performance in the 3-2 win at Hull, which came on the back a 2-0 victory over Burton Albion.

Reading on the other hand have lost four of their last five to slip to 20th in the table. It is a sharp reversal in fortunes for a team which made the play-off final last season.

The downturn in results has left manager Jaap Stam under pressure, but Warburton says Stam deserves respect, as do the Royals.

“There’s no doubt how difficult it will be. Reading are probably in an inappropriate league position,” he said.

“Their performances have warranted more points than they’ve secured.

“I’m sure they’ll be fighting and scrapping. We’re well aware of their quality. They’ve got a number of players who were in the play-off final last season.

“They’ve not become a bad team over night. They’re a very, very talented team with a very good manager.

“I read comments about managers being under pressure. He did a fantastic job last season. I’ve got no doubt how good he is and how organised his team will be.

“We have to prepare well. We have to analyse well. We know the challenge we face.”

David Vaughan beats David Meyler to the ball

Forest could have Murphy and left-back Armand Traore back from hamstring strains, but defender Danny Fox is definitely out.

David Vaughan and Liam Bridcutt could continue in central midfield after forming a promising partnership.

Warburton says he would have no concerns over veteran Vaughan playing his third game in a row having made six appearances this season.

“It was important against Burton to let them get to play with each other. The obvious concern is that they’re two similar players who like to sit deep and set the tempo,” he said.

“They’ve shown in the last two games they’re gelling very quickly. They’re experienced pros who know what areas of the pitch to be and I’m delighted with their contribution.

“I’m sure in the games ahead they’ll get better and better.

“People say to me David can’t play three games a week, but he did last season. I’ve got no qualms using David whatsoever.

“I’ve heard this from five people but I’m a bit mystified.

“I’m not sure what games he’s missed. He’s played every minute of every game (when available).

“He’s a 34-year-old pro who looks after himself tremendously well and he’s more than ready to play tomorrow.”



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