Having scored four times in his last three matches for Nottingham Forest, Lewis Grabban should comfortably hit the fifteen goal marker by season’s end in my opinion.
On reading that opening declaration I’m sure that a number of NFFC supporters will be expecting at least five more than that from our £6 Million striker. And, given the current rate at which Grabban is putting them away, coupled with last season’s statistics, it’s a reasonable shout.
However, when it comes to talisman at Forest, it feels like their contracts incorporate the caveat to fall short of the twenty goal marker. Not since 2003 has a Nottingham Forest striker achieved such a figure, the diminutive dreadlocked figure of David Johnson. Ironically, his partner in crime, Marlon Harewood also surpassed that tally as the Reds powered into the Championship play offs.
Even though Lewis Grabban is now moving through the gears, I still think that there is more to come from the attacking midfield three when finding the net. Both Joe Lolley and Matty Cash should be aspiring to reach double figures, whist Joao Carvalho will no doubt pop up with the odd one or two. If we’re honest, Aitor Karanka hasn’t been able to nail down his favoured midfield three yet, mainly down to the inconsistency of the players themselves. Gil Dias has shown flashes of brilliance here and there, and Hillal Soudani has been held back by injury.
When we see a consistently settled attacking midfield, I believe that the goals will be dispensed from three or four different individuals. In a perfect world we’d all like to see two up front like the good old days, the stark reality however is that lone strikers are here to stay. But, given the talent at Forest’s disposal, there is no reason why they cannot dispel the theory that Karanka is a negative manager.
I looked at the Middlesbrough side that the Spaniard won promotion to the Premier League with back in 2016. Despite having the likes of David Nugent and Jordan Rhodes in the squad, not a single Boro player achieved double figures in the Championship. Nugent was top of their league net finders, scoring just the eight times. Gastron Ramirez and Christian Stuani scored seven apiece whilst Albert Adomah and Jordan Rhodes tied on a measly six.
That Middlesbrough side was set up in the exact same framework as the Forest of today 4-2-3-1. But run the names of those Boro players through your head and read those statistics once more, I’m confident that three of our players will achieve double figure goal records in the Championship this season.
Reverting to Lewis Grabban, it was disappointing to see facets of negativity toward the guy before he notched his first goal against Sheffield Wednesday. Yes, at times his body language was a little lethargic but it’s a tough gig up top on your own. To think that last season he scored twelve times in one of the worst Sunderland sides I’ve ever seen is testament to his ability. And at Aston Villa he managed eight goals whilst operating in no less than three different systems under the stewardship of Steve Bruce. He certainly has character and resilience, especially when it comes to taking penalties, the fact that he bagged the equaliser from the spot against Blackburn having already missed one in the same game speaks volumes.
I’ve seen enough of Lewis Grabban to know that with the right service and support from the midfield three, he can comfortably notch fifteen goals in a Forest shirt this season. Whether or not he advances to the twenty goal milestone could well depend on the performance levels and consistency of our record signing Joao Carvalho.