Analysis: Lansbury and Assombalonga are a huge miss for Nottingham Forest

Analysis: Lansbury and Assombalonga are a huge miss for Nottingham Forest

The impact of losing Britt Assombalonga and Henri Lansbury to injury was shown in Forest's 3-0 demolition at Derby on Sunday afternoon.

Sam Straw

Forest’s star-striker Britt Assombalonga and influential midfielder Henri Lansbury, who recently won Player of the Month, both missed the latest East Midlands clash through injury.

A huge pre-match blow

The last thing Philippe Montanier would have wanted pre-match was for key player and current captain Henri Lansbury to pick up an injury in the warm-up.

The casualty list at Forest is already lengthy with the likes of Danny Fox, Chris Cohen, Matty Fryatt, Daniel Pinillos and Britt Assombalonga all on the sidelines.

It was not only a blow because Montanier had to rush a decision on who to replace Lansbury in the starting line-up, but also because of the superb form which Lansbury has been showing of late in a run which saw Forest win three games on the bounce in the Championship.

Montanier ultimately made the wrong decision to bring Carayol in to replace Lansbury and play him upfront. He arguably would have been better to replace Lansbury with experienced midfielder David Vaughan and continued to play Ben Osborn in the number 10 role just behind Bendtner.

Rams manager Steve McClaren spoke pre-match about the qualities of Lansbury and admitted post-match today that it would have been a huge disappointment for Forest to lose him and it clearly affected the Reds badly.

His ability to retain the ball and calm things down in the middle of the pitch would have been of huge help to Forest throughout. If Lansbury had been on the pitch, it would have been no surprise for Forest to take one of the many counter-attacking oppurtunities they had in the first-half which came to nothing due to a poor final ball.

Will Britt Assombalonga ever be back fully-fit?

A big concern for Forest fans at the moment is the fitness of their star-striker Britt Assombalonga who was signed for £5.5 million from Peterborough United a couple of years ago under Stuart Pearce.

He has now missed the last three Championship matches, with him last featuring in the 2-0 away win at Ipswich Town in which he scored twice.

He is clearly a huge miss to the Forest team, as he would be to any team in the Championship due to how lethal he is in front of goal. This is shown by the fact he has scored six goals this season despite only playing 382 minutes of football. This has given him an average of a goal every 64 minutes.

Assombalonga only recently signed a new five-year deal for the club in September. This will be a concern for supporters as means he could be on a significantly high wage yet not contributing on the pitch.

There was a significant amount of interest in Assombalonga throughout the summer with the likes of Norwich City and even local rivals Derby County said to be interested in securing his services.

However, with his recent injury problems, it is unlikely any club would take the risk on making a move for Assombalonga in the January transfer window.

When will they return?

The big question many Forest fans will be asking is when the pair will return to the match day squad with two vital home games coming up against Preston North End and Wolverhampton Wanderers at the City Ground.

It is vital Forest respond to the defeat at Derby in these two games and they could do with the likes of Lansbury and Assombalonga to do this.

Lansbury felt an issue with his hamstring during the warm-up of Sunday’s fixture and Montanier said that he did not want to risk him making it worse. This suggests that it could just be a minor issue but it would be a surprise to see him make the squad for Wednesday night’s game.

As for Assombalonga, little has been said on the extent of his hamstring injury but considering he has missed the last three matches, it must be quite significant. It would arguably be a surprise to see Assombalonga feature again for Forest before Christmas.