Britt Assombalonga fully focused on Nottingham Forest
Britt Assombalonga fully focussed on Nottingham Forest

Britt Assombalonga fully focused on Nottingham Forest

As Britt Assombalonga nears a return from injury, he has shown his commitment to Forest by turning down a chance to play at the African Cup of Nations.

Sam Straw

Britt Assombalonga had been called up to join the DR Congo squad at the tournament in January. However, he turned down the opportunity and wants to make sure he is contributing for his club before he goes off on international duty.

Huge boost for Forest

Assombalonga has been a huge miss in these last three games for Forest which have included some very poor results against Derby, Preston and Wolves. He could definitely have made a difference in all of these games especially the 2-0 home defeat to Wolves last time out.

His quality in this division is undoubted and 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. 10 of his 12 shots this season have been on target, meaning that 83% of his efforts cause problems.

If Forest manage to get Assombalonga back fully fit with a run of games behind him, he could be the difference between staying up and being relegated. He can be a match winner in any given game. This was shown in Forest’s 2-0 win over Ipswich at Portman Road in which he scored twice.

Needs help from others around him

However, despite his qualities, he will not be able to do it all by himself. He will need service from the players around him and they will need to perform better than they did against Wolves last time out as Apostolos Vellios was left totally isolated.

It will be interesting to see whether Forest manager Philippe Montanier goes back to playing Ben Osborn in the number 10 role behind Assombalonga on Boxing Day against Huddersfield. This was something which was very successful in the limited amount of times Montanier has been able to utilise this system.

You can often see the whole team are lifted by the return of players such as Assombalonga. He will not be the only player returning from injury on Boxing Day with the likes of Nicklas Bendtner, Thomas Lam and Damien Perquis also back in contention.

Daniel Pinillos also revealed yesterday that he is back in full training with the squad next week. This will be a huge boost due to Forest’s lack of left-backs at the moment with Chris Cohen, Danny Fox and Armand Traore all out injured. He was also part of the team who secured Forest’s only clean sheet away at Ipswich Town.

A potentially quiet transfer window for Assombalonga

Due to his success at Forest since he joined the club for £5.5 million from Peterborough United under Stuart Pearce, there has been constant speculation about him leaving the club.

However, due to his failure to fully recover from his injury so far, it is highly unlikely that any team is likely to gamble on making a move for Assombalonga this transfer window.

Despite his injury troubles, there was still a significant amount of teams interested in Assombalonga in the summer including Norwich City and Derby County. This was despite the fact Assombalonga had virtually played no football the season before.

Whether Forest would cash-in on any surprise offer for Assombalonga in January is unknown. The takeover of the club by American businessman John Jay Moores has still not gone through leaving the club in limbo.

Current owner Fawaz Al-Hasawi has cashed-in on some of the club’s prize assets in the past such as Karl Darlow, Jamaal Lascelles, Adlene Guedioura, Michail Antonio, Dorus De Vries and most recently Oliver Burke.

It would therefore be no surprise to see him repeat this with Assombalonga. However, this may not be the case as any potential sale of Assombalonga would decrease the value of the club and therefore potentially jeopardise any takeover deal.