Nottingham Forest took a big hit to their hopes of attaining a playoff place in the Championship after suffering their second defeat in three games on Wednesday evening. The Reds registered just two shots on target at home as they lost 3-1 to fellow promotion-chasers Aston Villa and Martin O’Neill might have to take a share of the blame for the club’s recent demise.
Forest have scored one or less goals in four of their last five Championship outings and certainly aren’t benefitting from O’Neill’s decisions in attack. Karim Ansarifard started against Aston Villa after a goalscoring cameo on Saturday but struggled to make an impact and was eventually replaced by Daryl Murphy. Leo Bonatini was an unused substitute on Wednesday despite starting days ago against Hull.
Murphy hasn’t registered a shot on target since January 19 against Bristol City. He can hold up the ball and make the odd chance for his teammates, but Forest’s creativity is being wasted on the 35-year-old. Murphy last league goal came on New Year’s Day. He’s netted just once in the league since August. O’Neill can’t make up his mind who he wants to lead the line in Grabban’s absence and it’s leading to disjointed performances.
He’ll have another selection headache ahead of Saturday’s trip to face Ipswich Town.