Jack Robinson is set to serve a two-match ban for Nottingham Forest.

As a result, he will play no part in meetings with Hull City and Aston Villa.

With the games coming thick and fast, he will actually only be ruled out of action for five days.

Two important fixtures will be staged in that period though.

Both are at home, which helps to soften the blow somewhat.

The Reds have been markedly better at the City Ground than they have been on the road for some time now.

That unfortunate fact was highlighted once again on Saturday at Stoke City.

It was during said outing that Robinson collected his 10th yellow card of the season.

A penchant for bookings means that the defender must now watch on from afar with the rest of us.

Martin O’Neill was always aware that his options were going to be depleted at some stage.

Harsh

(Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

He said in the Nottingham Post after seeing Robinson ruled out: “He has picked up a lot of bookings and it was going to be asking a lot for him to go through to game number 37 without picking up another one.

“I thought it was a pretty harsh booking. I thought the referee and the linesman on our side combined to make it an interesting game, for a while.”

Harsh or not, a ban was coming.

And in many ways it is better to get it out of the way now.

What, though, will O’Neill do when deprived of his first-choice left-back?

When Robinson was withdrawn against Stoke, Ben Osborn dropped back into defence.

He is familiar with such a role, but has not always convinced in it.

Versatility is a definite positive for Forest’s ‘Marmite Man’, but he can often look like a square peg in a round hole.

Alternative

 

An alternative option could be to bring Saidy Janko back in.

While being more at home on the right, the Swiss is at least a defender and caught the eye at left-back when asked to provide cover by former boss Aitor Karanka.

His services may be required again.

It could, however, be that O’Neill decides to rid himself of the need for a left-back.

The same names would expect to be in contention for a wing-back role, and they may fit better in such a post.

Said system would require three centre-halves.

Claudio Yacob could slot in alongside Yohan Benalouane and Alexander Milosevic and form a defensive trio that few would fancy facing, or Molla Wague could be handed a first start.

Is another experiment the best option though?

We’ve already had 4-4-2, 4-3-3, 4-1-4-1, 4-2-3-1 and 4-1-3-2 in a matter of weeks.

Whatever approach is taken, Robinson will not be involved and suitable cover needs to be found.