Nottingham Forest made it three games unbeaten with a 0-0 draw at Preston North End on Saturday.

It could have been so much more for the Reds who were once again left to rue some controversial officiating.

Both Lewis Grabban and Joe Lolley had efforts chalked off, with Lolley’s, in particular, looking like a poor decision.

Forest are losing ground on the top six but face a mouthwatering clash with Derby County next up.

Following Saturday’s stalemate, Seat Pitch looked at four things learned from the contest.

Forest are improving

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It has taken Martin O’Neill a little while but the performance levels are improving at the City Ground.

The new Reds boss joined at a difficult stage of the campaign but there is now cause for optimism that Forest can finish with a flourish.

O’Neill’s team were well worth a point in the goalless draw on Saturday and it could have been all three on another day.

The new central defenders can play

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It would be fair to say that Yohan Benalouane and Alexander Milosevic were relatively unknown to most people in Nottingham, prior to their arrival at the City Ground.

Both have been different class since being thrown into the first-team picture, with the two now building up a robust partnership.

 

The pair have different strengths which makes them a formidable duo.

Milosevic is the modern-day, ball-playing central defender, whilst Benalouane does the ‘ugly’ stuff with ease.

The pair were excellent again at Deepdale.

Plan A, B or C

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One thing that O’Neill has done particularly well since arriving on Trentside is adapting his system to outsmart the opposition.

Subtle tweaks have been made in each game he has managed so far.

The Forest boss went with two up top at Deepdale and the extra man in the final third gave Preston plenty to ponder.

O’Neill was seen as being somewhat archaic in his methods upon his arrival but so far he has proved anything but.

Lolley is back to his best

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But for some woeful refereeing, Lolley would have proved decisive for Forest at Deepdale.

The 26-year-old recently penned a new deal at the City Ground and that seems to have done the trick in terms of reviving his form.

Lolley tapped home after Preston stopper Declan Rudd could only parry a Lewis Grabban shot. The referee, however, incorrectly called a foul on the custodian in the build-up to leave Forest feeling aggrieved once more.