Matty Cash’s return from injury was one of the only positives for Nottingham Forest to take from their draw against Ipswich Town.
The 21-year-old was involved in Martin O’Neill’s first three games in charge. However, an Achilles problem had seen him sidelined for six games before his return at the weekend.
It wasn’t the sort of return to action he would’ve been hoping for. Despite actually being two points closer to the play-offs than they were when he picked up an injury, there are now more teams between the Reds and the top six.
The challenge could become more difficult once the likes of Bristol City, Derby County and Middlesbrough have played their games in hand.
Despite their chances now looking slim, Cash has urged his side to make a late push. He told the club’s official site: “We are still three points off the play-offs.
“It is frustrating as we are so close and we just want to get as many points as possible. We have got to kick on and anything can happen in these last eight games.
“These last few games are so important; we are all fighting so we have got to keep going.”
There’s no doubt that the Reds have missed the midfielder whilst he has been sidelined.
It’s been a very productive season for the youngster, having scored eight goals in all competitions so far. However, he brings far more to the side than just goals and assists. It’s his energy, work rate and enthusiasm which tends to make him so popular with the management team.
The Reds have lacked threat from wide areas whilst he has been out of the side. They’ve become far too reliant on Joe Lolley, who must be becoming drained by the amount of expectation on his shoulders to create something.
Cash should be able to claim his usual spot on the right-hand side once he’s back to full fitness. This will allow Lolley to return to the left-hand side, where he’s at his most comfortable.
Having both Cash and Lewis Grabban back available after the international break will provide a timely boost to O’Neill’s options. Cash believes that the two-week break has come at a good time.
He said: “We picked up a point and we have to move into the next game, regroup and stay strong together.
“We have the break now so we just have to come back refreshed.
“A lot of the lads have played a lot of minutes so it will be good to have a nice break in, refresh the legs and come back really fresh for the last few games.”