Juan Rafael Fuentes has been out of action for nearly 10 months after suffering a broken tibia against Barnsley on April 24, 2018. The 29-year-old underwent surgery on his leg just days later and has been making a slow recovery to fitness. Fuentes has undergone light training and is able to run with the ball at his feet, but whether he’ll return in time to play a game this season remains to be seen.
The Spaniard joined Forest on a free transfer in February 2018 and made only one appearance before suffering his serious injury. It’s been a long road to recovery and he’ll be considerably short of match fitness when he is able to return to full training, but Fuentes might not be considered to provide back up in the first-team. Martin O’Neill might rely on Ben Osborn and Jack Robinson to play left-back.
Fuentes, who has played for the likes of Cordoba (127 appearances), RCD Espanyol Barcelona (70 appearances) and CA Osasuna (20 appearances), was initially only signed by Forest until the end of last season, but his deal was extended to help him recover from injury. The defender’s contract is up at the end of this season and a renewal looks unlikely so long as his rehabilitation is complete.
He’s been on the periphery for close to ten months, so it’s hard to see O’Neill picking Fuentes over other first-team players.