Martin O’Neill has a bloated squad to trim this summer with Nottingham Forest notably overstocked at centre-back. The Reds have Michael Dawson, Tobias Figueiredo, Alexander Milosevic, Yohan Benalouane and Michael Hefele, and will add Joe Worrall to the first-team squad.
O’Neill even prefers Jack Robinson in a central role, but he’ll need to let one or two players leave ahead of the 2019/20 as there’s too much competition for places. Robinson, Worrall and Dawson are out of contract in 2020, but Dawson might be the one who’s expendable and here’s why…
The 35-year-old is in the eve of his career and hasn’t played since early-December 2018. Dawson made only eight Championship starts before suffering a serious hamstring injury in 2018/19 and may have fallen further down the pecking order during his absence.
Figueiredo, Milosevic and Benalouane featured almost regularly during the tail-end of last season, but Figueiredo was first-choice under Aitor Karanka when fit. Worrall could also be in contention of a starting place after his return from Rangers, so O’Neill has a difficult choice to make.
Dawson kept an impressive six clean sheets in nine outings for Forest between October and December, but his advancing age means he won’t have a long-term future at the club and may be more expendable as a result.