Martin O’Neill has ruled Tobias Figueiredo out against Swansea and says the Nottingham Forest defender is “physically a bit short”. Figueiredo has been out of action since mid-December with a serious leg injury, causing him to miss 15 league games, but he’s recently returned to training and will be building up his fitness to get back into the matchday squad in the coming weeks.
The 25-year-old has made 14 appearances in all competitions this season, the last of which came in the Championship against Queens Park Rangers on December 22. He’s made 13 tackles, 15 interceptions, 74 clearances, averages 40 passes-per-game with 75% accuracy, has blocked eight shots and has won 43 aerial duels.
O’Neill told Nottinghamshire Live: “Tobias has done a couple of days with us, he was back with Monday’s training. He had played in a practice match out in Greece, where he had been doing some rehab work. We gave him permission to take part in a game out there, but it was only for 20 minutes or so, as part of his rehab work.
“Even in some of the sessions we have done, which have been more up-tempo, he has been involved in that. He found it a little bit of a struggle physically, which you would do, with the amount of time he has been out. But we are pleased to see him back.
“How far away he is, is a good question. I think he is physically a bit short, which is entirely understandable, given the length of time he has been out. But he is really keen and is working hard to move forward. Tuesday was a tough day for him in training, because we did a few physical tests and he found that difficult – but that is exactly what we were expecting.”
Figueiredo was outstanding alongside Michael Dawson at the heart of the Forest defence prior to his injury, but Alexander Milosevic, Molla Wague and Yohan Benalouane were recruited in his absence and have impressed under O’Neill. Next up for Forest are Swansea City and a win could see them draw level on points with the bottom-placed side in the playoffs.
The Reds are currently 11th in the Championship with 54 points from 38 games, coming off the back of only one win in four.