The tough decisions Mark Warburton must make as Forest head to struggling Reading


Who ever said being a football manager was easy?

Despite injuries to three key men prior to Saturday’s game at Hull City, Nottingham Forest still turned in a hugely encouraging performance to beat the Tigers – and will now take on Reading looking for their third win on the bounce.

Leading scorer Daryl Murphy was ruled out with a hamstring problem which saw Jason Cummings deployed through the middle for the first time in the Championship, while Danny Fox and Armand Traore were also missing through injury.

Boss Mark Warburton hopes to have Murphy and Traore back in contention for Tuesday’s trip to struggling Reading who face doubts over the future of their manager Jaap Stam – and Warburton faces plenty of tough choices given the performance of his side at the weekend.

Armand Traore slides in for a challenge before going off injured against Burton

In a defensive reshuffle at the KCOM Stadium, Tendayi Darikwa returned to his more familiar right-back berth with Eric Lichaj facing the tough task of dealing with the lively Jarrod Bowen from left-back, while Joe Worrall slotted in alongside Michael Mancienne in the heart of the Reds defence, and arguably produced one of his best performances for the club.

Should Armand Traore return to fitness for the game at the Madejski Stadium, it’s expected he’ll return to the side which gives boss Warburton a selection headache in who to leave out to enable the Reds to adopt a more conventional defensive system.

David Vaughan was in fine form at Hull

David Vaughan’s return from injury has coincided with back-to-back wins and his partnership in the centre of midfield with Liam Bridcutt is showing early shoots of promise with their defensive solidity and ability to break up play once again key to any success in Royal Berkshire at the home of last season’s beaten play-off finalists.

If Murphy is fit again, Warburton must decide whether or not to bring him back into the side, given he, like Vaughan, is so crucial to the way Forest play.

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Will Forest make it two away wins in a row at Reading?



Murphy’s effective replacement on the Humber was Kieran Dowell who netted an unforgettable hat-trick in front of the television cameras, and that will give Warburton even more food for thought.

Kieran Dowell celebrates scoring his third goal from the penalty spot during the 3-2 win at Hull

Jason Cummings led the line on the night, and while he worked hard, little came off for him in front of goal and that could tempt the Forest boss into a like-for-like switch.

Having played late on Saturday and then again on Tuesday, Warburton and assistant David Wier may be tempted to freshen things up elsewhere with Zach Clough, Jamie Ward and Tyler Walker all pushing to be included, while Ben Brereton will be keen to get back on the pitch after a spell off it.

With plenty of positive selection dilemmas for the Reds chief, here’s your chance to pick the starting XI you’d like to see take on the Royals…



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