Aitor Karanka was highly critical of Joe Lolley, saying the Nottingham Forest winger “needs to work hard to improve” amid talk of an impending contract extension and interest from Premier League sides. The 26-year-old has been in fantastic form this season, scoring and creating 13 goals in the Championship, but the Forest manager wasn’t impressed with his first-half showing against Derby County and says Lolley needs to focus on the club, not the rumours.
Karanka said to Nottingham Live: “If I were one of the clubs (supposedly looking at him) and I saw his first half performance (against Derby), I would not be looking to sign him. He needs to forget everything else and work hard to improve. I have told him, the better he plays in future in games, the better contract he will have. The main thing for him is that he needs to work to improve, because I do think he has a lot of improvement to come, in front of him.”
Lolley has made more than 40 appearances in all competitions since joining Forest from Huddersfield Town in January, contributing 20 goals for his troubles. His form this season has led to alleged interest from Watford and West Bromwich Albion, but Karanka isn’t happy with what the rumours are doing to his head. The Englishman is sure to be the subject of interest when the January transfer window opens, but he still needs to focus on playing well for Forest.
The Midlands club have suffered a recent dip in form and find themselves three points off the Championship playoffs. Forest have also gone three games without a win in the league and Lolley has failed to score or assist a goal in his last four appearances.