Nottingham Forest are four games unbeaten in the Championship with their latest victory coming at the expense of Derby County.

Forest beat the rivals 1-0 on Monday night to cap a second consecutive clean sheet for Costel Pantilimon.

The uncompromising Romanian has quickly become Forest’s very own Mr Marmite. Some love him, others can’t stand him.

(Photo by Jon Hobley/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

It does seem an intriguing debate, however, but even his harshest critics are starting to come round to the idea that maybe, just maybe, he’s actually pretty sound.

So what has changed?

It is perhaps telling that since Martin O’Neill arrived at the football club, Pantilimon’s form has improved considerably.

O’Neill’s tried and tested goalkeeping coach Seamus McDonagh has clearly worked tirelessly on the ex-Sunderland stopper’s weaknesses.

Under Aitor Karanka, Pantilimon wasn’t coming for routine crosses, couldn’t kick straight and was fumbling the simplest of chances.

 

As a result, Forest were leaking points down the drain at free will.

Millwall at home springs to mind. Two-nil up and cruising, the Lions were handed a way back in the game when Pantilimon tried to make amends for a poor kick by coming for a cross that he didn’t need to. Neil Harris’ team scored and then equalised in the dying moments, earning a point from a game that they weren’t in for 70 minutes.

Those lapses in concentration haven’t been evident in his performances of late, however.

Under O’Neill, or more so McDonagh, Pantilimon is looking more commanding around his area, is kicking into the final third and looks to have a solid understanding with the two central defenders.

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Some of the criticism thrown at the Forest keeper has been borderline ridiculous. The fact that he has 12 clean sheets to his name should surely accrue him a certain degree of praise.

Pantilimon is a solid Championship goalkeeper and on current form, he is doing a superb job of silencing his doubters.

There are still minor flaws in his goalkeeping but given more time with O’Neill’s respected coach, improvements should continue to be evident.