Lewis Grabban was left out of the matchday squad by Martin O’Neill as Nottingham Forest enjoyed a 1-0 win over Derby on Monday night. Just days before the East Midlands derby, Grabban was struggling with a persistent achilles problem which forced him out of training. Martin O’Neill was still optimistic that Grabban would return in time, but his absence against the Rams was evidence that he hadn’t overcome his injury woes.
Daryl Murphy was also struggling in the lead-up to the match, but he was passed fit to start on Monday. The 35-year-old played 85 minutes before being replaced by Leo Bonatini. Forest’s victory saw them halve the deficit to the Championship playoffs and extend their unbeaten run to four games (two wins, two draws). Grabban’s having a hard time of late, with his form and now fitness going by the wayside.
The 31-year-old has scored and created 18 goals in 24 Championship starts this season, but he’s netted only one goal since early-December 2018 and has managed just one assist since October. His achilles injury could be partly the cause for his toils in front of goal, so O’Neill is likely to rest him for as long as it takes to recover.