Nottingham Forest manager Dougie Freedman says Chris Cohen will be in his squad tomorrow – but he won’t be scrutinising his performance too heavily.
Cohen’s contract expires in the summer and, now back in action after a 15-month lay-off, the former Yeovil man will be keen to show Freedman what he can do in the hope of extending his stay at The City Ground.
But the manager says Cohen’s form won’t be the only thing taken into account when he considers whether or not to offer him a new deal.
Freedman told Forest Player HD: “I don’t only address contracts based on match performances. I address them on what standards people bring to the training ground and whether they accept they might not play every game.
“I am not prepared to put a young guy’s career under threat by playing him week in, week out. As long as he accepts that then hopefully he will play many more years for the football club.
“I value Chris immensely. I don’t want him to just be part of the furniture. I want to get the best out of him for the many years to come. I think he’s a very understanding guy so I don’t think there’ll be many problems there.
“He’s had a fantastic strength programme this week and he will be involved tomorrow – in what position, I need to keep that under my hat.”
Cohen is one of the players who could plug the central midfield gap in the absence of the injured Henri Lansbury and suspended David Vaughan.
Gary Gardner will also hope to challenge for a slot in the middle of the park but Freedman warned that the loanee is still struggling for sharpness follow a stagnant first half of the season.
Freedman said: “He’s not up to speed in training – I’ve spoken to him about it this week. He knows he’s got to catch up.
“But he’s a very hard trainer and he’s a competitor every day. It won’t take him too long to get up to the fitness I think is required to play week in, week out.”