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Montanier seeking momentum

25 November 2016

Nottingham Forest head coach Philippe Montanier says his side are progressing but need to follow up last week’s win at Ipswich with another result at Barnsley on Friday night.

Two Britt Assombalonga goals secured a first away win of the season on Saturday and the Frenchman feels it is important to beat a team higher in the Sky Bet Championship table.

He said: “We were delighted and we enjoyed it, but now Ipswich is behind us and we have to focus on the next game against Barnsley. To win it is important but we are in a bad position in the league and we have to continue.

“It is important to progress. We are progressing slowly but that is better than not progressing at all. The game against Ipswich was different and we had similar statistics as against Reading but we were more clinical offensively and defensively.

“It is an important game as Barnsley have three more points than us. They are a direct opponent and it will be a tough game. We have to continue and show the same mentality, fighting spirit and quality to get the points.”  

There are some fresh injury blows for Montanier as last week’s match-winner Assombalonga is a doubt, as is Eric Lichaj, while Dani Pinillos and Chris Cohen are out but David Vaughan and Nicklas Bendtner could return to the matchday squad.  

Montanier said: “For Chris it is not good news as he consulted the surgeon about his abductor and it is normally three months out. It is a big blow but we know that footballers can have injuries.  

“David Vaughan and Nicklas Bendtner have trained with the group this week but we have a problem with Britt’s hamstring. Dani Pinillos has a problem, not with the same knee, but is consulting with his surgeon in Barcelona and Eric has a problem with his calf. I regain two or three but lose three players.

“It is always better when you get good players back like David and Nicklas, but it also important not to lose players. I think of Dani Pinillos and Britt for example, because they played a good game against Ipswich. We will see if we have these players available for this game but I am sure we will be OK whichever players play.

“Britt is an efficient player and we need that. The defence played well, and the midfielders too, but at the end we have to score to win the game. Britt is a specialist and in the last two games he has scored. I know that we can win, we did it without Britt too. To have a good player is important but the team is more than one player.”  

With players missing through injury, it could open the window for younger players to make the step up which is something that Montanier has not been afraid to do since taking charge in the summer.

He said: “I have confidence with the younger players. In the first game we started with six players from the academy and for three of those it was their first games. 

“Joe Worrall showed during pre-season his ability and we had to be patient to give him an opportunity and I am happy with his performances. He is a strong defender and we saw against Ipswich as you need power and technique as well. Joe is strong and tall but very clever tactically too and he will continue to improve.

“It is not perhaps the best moment to introduce young players, as it is better when the team is winning and full of confidence. Sometimes the young players have talent that is better than the others and they have to play. I am always focused on the academy and have a good relationship with Gary and Jack.”

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