Nottingham Forest spent around £13.2 million to secure the services of João Carvalho in the summer. 

His arrival generated a huge amount of excitement around the City Ground, as the Reds looked set to mount a serious promotion challenge under the management of Aitor Karanka this season.

It is safe to say that a lot has changed on Trentside over the last few weeks.

Martin O’Neill has since taken over the reins, and his team selection for the visit of Bristol City yesterday has raised doubts over Carvalho’s role.

(Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)

The Northern Irishman opted to set the Reds up in a 4-4-2 formation, which meant the Portuguese maestro had to settle for a place on the bench.

As a result of this, the Reds lacked the creativity required to unlock the Robins’ defence.

His absence was noted by the sell-out crowd, who chanted his name on numerous occasions throughout the match.

The majority of supporters will be hoping he is reintroduced for the visit of Wigan next weekend.

Does Carvalho fit into O’Neill’s system?

It was common knowledge that 4-4-2 was one of O’Neill’s preferred formations.

This immediately raised concerns from some supporters about Carvalho’s future role.

Carvalho was well-suited to Aitor Karanka’s 4-2-3-1 formation, and he was often able to produce a moment of brilliance under the Spaniard to change a game.

It is worth remembering that the Forest number 10 is up there with the most creative players in the Championship.

 

He has picked up six assists so far.

However, he simply does not fit into a 4-4-2 set-up.

Incidentally, the combination of Jack Colback and Claudio Yacob didn’t work anyway.

One of the two central midfielders has to be more attack-minded for it to work effectively.

Too much pressure was put on Joe Lolley and Matty Cash to create chances.

(Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Changes needed ahead of Wigan

After another turgid performance at home against Bristol City, changes are most definitely needed.

The visit of Wigan next weekend provides a perfect opportunity for O’Neill’s side to get back on track.

As a result of yesterday’s result, the pressure will already be starting to build.

The Reds now find themselves seven points off the play-offs and even the most optimistic supporters would agree that promotion now looks a tough ask.

O’Neill will no doubt have to alter formation to fit Carvalho into the team.

In short, the inclusion of the midfielder next weekend would arguably boost the Reds’ chances of securing three points.

In the meantime, O’Neill will get to work with the players on the training ground in his first full week in charge.