A busy summer can be expected again at the City Ground, but who represents the deadwood in the Nottingham Forest?

Martin O’Neill is not in a position to wield the axe just yet, but he will be inquiring as to its whereabouts.

Tough calls will need to be made in the pursuit of progress.

And some not so tough ones.

Change is inevitable as part of a fluid process intended to guide the club forward.

Those hoping to remain part of the project in 2019/20 need to start proving their worth now.

Reds legend Kenny Burns has said in the Nottingham Post: “Even if Forest can’t make the play-offs, everyone should still be fighting to show they deserve to be at the club again next season. They should be fighting for their futures.

“If they’re not putting the effort in, I’m sure Martin won’t be afraid of getting rid.

“You’ve got to be ruthless like that as a manager. If players are not putting it in, it’s part of Martin’s job to make the big calls.

“If it’s a choice between someone who is chomping at the bit in training or someone who’s just going through the motions, you’ll pick the person who is showing desire every time.”

Contracts

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Who falls into the former of those categories and who occupies the latter?

Arvin Appiah and Joe Lolley have clearly offered enough to convince O’Neill that they are worth keeping around, with both having committed to new contracts.

There are also plenty of senior players tied to terms for the next 18 months.

It has been suggested that some of those – or maybe a few loanees – could be in line for extension talks.

There will, however, be plenty sweating on their respective futures.

As Burns has pointed out, it is up to them to show on the training field that they deserve to be retained.

Culled

 

Given the lack of playing time for the likes of Liam Bridcutt and the expiring deals of Jamie Ward and Stephen Henderson, they may expect to be culled.

They may not be the only ones.

Having inherited a squad from Aitor Karanka and made only minor tweaks in January, O’Neill will be eager to put his own stamp on things.

A meeting of minds involving Roy Keane and the Reds board will determine who and how many are drafted in during the next window.

It will also decide who makes their way through the exits.

Forest have 15 games remaining this season – starting at West Brom on Tuesday night.

That is all that is left for positive impressions to be made – a third of a campaign.

Make your mark now and a leading role in future plans, in whatever division that may involve, is there for the taking.

Disappoint in and away from competitive action and a P45 will be in the post.

The challenge has been set, but who is up to it?