Aitor Karanka has revealed that Sam Byram could return next year, most likely in January or February. The Nottingham Forest defender has been sidelined since late-August with a knee injury and underwent successfully surgery in September. He made just three appearances for Forest after joining on loan from West Ham United and might have to wait another three months to add to the tally.
Karanka said to Nottingham Live: “Sam is recovering well but is still two or three months away. I hope that he will come back – and I am not a doctor – in January or February. It would be good if that happens. I hope he still has a part to play for us this season. You never know with this kind of injury, but he is doing well and feeling confident.
“He wants to improve every day and, since he was injured, he has only had one thing in his mind, which is to come back stronger. I am positive. He is in London for the moment, but he does come here regularly and the doctor goes there, to check on his progress. And he will come back to work here soon. He wants to be here; he wants to be part of the team and involved in the changing room, while he recovers.”
Byram’s last appearance for Forest was against Birmingham City on August 25 – the game ended 2-2 at the City Ground. His injury is a big blow to The Reds after so much time and resources were spent on bringing him to the club over the summer. There is a chance he still can play a part of Forest’s season, but his match fitness will need a lot of work in 2019.
Karanka is fortunate to have good replacement options at right-back, with Tendayi Darikwa having been a regular in recent weeks. Forest signed Saidy Janko after Byram’s injury verdict and utilised him in their first handful of fixtures. They will be able to cope well in Byram’s absence, evident from The Reds currently sitting sixth in the Championship, three points off third-placed Sheffield United.