Nottingham Forest manager Martin O’Neill has hinted that Daryl Murphy could return to the team against Ipswich Town.
The 36-year-old striker was demoted to the bench against Aston Villa in midweek. Karim Ansarifard was given an opportunity to impress as he was handed a rare place in the starting line-up.
However, it’s fair to say this change didn’t really work against the Villans. Ansarifard was easily dealt with by Kortney Hause and Tyrone Mings.
The Reds could’ve done with a more physical presence upfront to cause them problems, which is something Murphy has always been able to provide.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s game, O’Neill told the Nottingham Post: “Murphy does give us a physical presence and he is searching for a goal or two.
“He would have liked to have scored against Derby, when the ball was overrun a little bit. He gives us something but, as a centre forward – as he says himself – you are still expected to score goals.
“But he does take some physical pressure off us. You would not say that we are the most physical side in the country; certainly not the most physical side in the division.”
If Murphy is reinstated to the starting line-up this weekend, he’ll have an added motivation.
Having enjoyed a six-year spell at Portman Road, the experienced striker will be keen to impress against his former side. He scored 27 goals in 44 appearances in the 2014/15 Championship campaign for the Tractor Boys.
Even though this presents a strong case to play him, O’Neill will have to put his fitness first.
Murphy has featured in all but one of O’Neill’s games in charge so far. Before the game against Aston Villa, he had started four games in a row. It’s important not to play him tomorrow unless he feels ready.
O’Neill said: “I keep saying to him that he is the same age as me, but he does give us something in games, physically.
“He has played through the pain barrier as well for us, genuinely. I have been appreciative of that and the role he has been playing.”