Nottingham Forest midfielder Jack Colback will become a free agent during the summer of 2019.
The man on loan from Newcastle United will see his St. James’ Park deal expire and he is expected to depart.
Signing a player of Colback’s quality without a transfer fee should be a piece of business that is firmly on Martin O’Neill’s summer to-do list.
The 29-year-old has been a revelation since checking-in at the City Ground.
He first signed back in January 2018 to help Aitor Karanka stave off the threat of relegation, forming a resolute midfield partnership with Ben Watson.
Colback returned for a season-long stint at the start of the current campaign and has featured prominently.
The only outfield player to have played more games than the midfielder is Joe Lolley and his influence was clear for all to see on Saturday as he captained the Reds at Preston.
Every team needs a Colback-type character.
The one player who performs the same whether 2-0 up or 7-0 down, the one rallying the troops and the one to come out, sleeves rolled up, ready to fight for the cause.
Colback is the man you’d take with you to the trenches.
Indeed, Martin O’Neill is fond of the player.
Speaking on his decision to hand Colback the armband, the boss told Nottinghamshire Live: “Part of it was that (because he has impressed), I must admit.
“Part of it was also the element of responsibility. I thought that if he was captain, he was less likely to get himself foolishly booked. It was a combination of reasons for that.”
The midfielder isn’t shy of putting a foot in and that has led to disciplinary issues.
Colback has missed three games this season due to an accumulation of yellow cards.
Given the quality of the player, however, you can kind of forgive him for that.
O’Neill is keeping his cards close to his chest when it comes to the summer and whether a deal can be struck.
He said: “In terms of long-term future, it is really early for me to be deciding these things.
“I have not got into the contractual details of his situation, but I will look at this situation in the near future”
It seems quite conclusive that the player is rated by O’Neill.
Colback is one player who has played when he has been available under the Reds boss and the same can’t be said about other players.
It would appear he is respected by his peers too. A notion backed by O’Neill.
“I think your opinion that he has been one of the better players this season is pretty well the same thought around the dressing room as well,” said the recently appointed manager.
These comments will excite Forest fans.
At times Colback as looked like he genuinely cares about the football club.
That might sound like an odd thing to say when he is wearing the Garibaldi red, but he isn’t technically our player.
There is sometimes a sentiment among fans that loan players don’t care the same.
Nobody can say Colback doesn’t care.
Martin, you know what to do…