Yohan Benalouane has boldly declared that he is just getting started at Nottingham Forest.

Which is great to hear.

The Tunisia international is already well on his way to securing cult hero status at the City Ground.

And he has achieved that standing in a matter of weeks.

That is what whole-hearted showings and a winning goal against Derby will do for you.

While wearing a mask.

Broken skull? Stick a plaster on it and get me back out there!

In many ways, Benalouane’s short time with Forest has mirrored the club’s season as a whole.

A change in January followed by flashes of promise and the odd setback.

He arrived during the winter transfer window having seen no competitive minutes since the World Cup in Russia.

Polite

(Photo by MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

His last outing for Leicester – and one of only five in 2017/18 – had come on May 2.

Rusty would be a polite way of describing him.

Benalouane admits as much, but has vowed that there is more to come from him.

He has said in the Nottingham Post: “It was a tough moment for me, because I was not playing at Leicester.

“Now I am trying to come back and get myself to 100 percent. When you do not play regularly, it can be difficult for you at the start.

“But I am feeling good and game after game, I will be even better.”

That bodes well.

Having made his bow in O’Neill’s first game at the helm against Bristol City, Benalouane collected a red card on just his third outing.

Memorable

 

Momentum disrupted once more.

He has figured in four successive games since serving a ban and kept two clean sheets.

While opening his goal account in memorable fashion against Derby.

His partnership with Alexander Milosevic has earned plenty of plaudits, with their combative qualities bonding nicely as others are left facing a fight to get back into the side.

Benalouane has added in the Post on his bond with the Swede who stands alongside him: “I have a good relationship with him. He is a good guy, a good player and he is tough.

“Obviously we have to know each other well and there is still time to work on that, because we have only played four or five games together.

“After a lot of games together, we will understand each other even better and it will be better for the team. We will get better with every game we play together.”

More to come on an individual level and as a collective.

Again, that just about sums Forest up.

The pieces are all falling into place, they just need putting together and sticking down.