Is Daryl Murphy unsung or underperforming at Nottingham Forest?

There is a fine line to be trodden between those two labels.

On the one hand, the 35-year-old’s work rate can never be called into question.

He will run himself into the ground for the good of the Reds cause.

Every ball lofted aimlessly in his direction will be fought for, both on the ground and in the air.

His physicality allows him to be an attacking focal point and bring others into play.

If Forest need an out ball, Murphy is the man they turn to.

He also has a goal in him.

That, though, is where he starts to slip onto the other side of the divide.

The net has not been hit enough of late by a man who is ultimately paid to do just that.

Effort

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

One goal in his last 17 is where Murphy stands at present – with, admittedly, not all of those outings being starts.

That solitary effort – and one of only three in the league this season – came in a 4-2 victory over Leeds on New Year’s Day.

His last strike prior to that came in the Carabao Cup against Stoke on September 26.

Murphy opened the campaign with four goals in six appearances, but was largely restricted to a support role behind leading marksman Lewis Grabban.

The latter’s fitness struggles in 2019 have opened the door again.

Muprhy has done his best, there can be no denying that.

His effort is recognised by those in the stands and around him on the field.

Jack Robinson has said in the Nottingham Post: “I think some of his performances do get a little bit overlooked. Murph is a top lad and a top player and he definitely works hard in every game.

“He gives his all every time he is out on the pitch and he is a good player as well.

“He does get overlooked sometimes, but we just hope he carries on doing what he does and that we can get a few more goals out of him, between now and the end of the season.”

Spark

 

Forest, with one goal in their last three games, could do with a spark being found.

Murphy may be the man to provide it.

Grabban will also come back in at some stage, having rubbished reports of an internal rift when it comes to his Achilles problem.

Then there is Karim Ansarifard waiting patiently in the wings alongside loanee Leo Bonatini.

Martin O’Neill has gone with two up top at times since inheriting the reins, so all of the above could see minutes between now and May.

What, though, will Forest – fans, coaches and players – be looking for from Murphy?

More of the same?

Is that enough?

Where are we perched on that line between contribution to the collective cause and end product?