Lewis Grabban is ready to return to the Nottingham Forest fold with big things expected of him.

The 31-year-old has been missing since mid-February.

An Achilles problem has sidelined the striker on three occasions this season.

He hopes a summer break will rid him of a niggling ailment, but there are eight games to come before then.

Grabban has stated his desire to play a leading role in Forest’s run-in.

And the Reds are looking forward to welcoming him back.

That is because, despite regular spells on the treatment table, a man with 15 Championship goals to his name remains the club’s top scorer by some distance.

In his absence, the likes of Daryl Muprhy and Karim Ansarifard have deputised.

Both have obvious qualities, but being prolific is not among them.

Problem

(Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

And that has proved a problem for a team still clinging to play-off aspirations.

Even when Grabban was figuring on a regular basis late last year and early in 2019, he only found the target once in his last 12 appearances.

That solitary strike came in a 2-1 win over Brentford when – despite missing another penalty – he showcased all that is good about his game.

Easing him into the fold after the international break is considered to be a timely bonus.

Martin O’Neill has said in the Nottingham Post: “Firstly, I think if you have a goal threat in your team, it gives you a bit of extra confidence to go out and play.

“We have probably been missing that in recent games – trying to conjure goals from other areas; from set pieces and things like that.

“You hope during the course of natural play, Lewis can provide that goal threat for us.”

Forest are clearly reliant on Grabban providing those qualities.

Murphy is more of a target man who requires bodies around him in which to flourish.

Ansarifard is not as one-dimensional as an Irish colleague, but is still more of a physical presence than a fox in the box.

Money

 

And it is that which further highlights the need for the right reinforcements this summer.

There have already been suggestions that strikers will figure prominently on O’Neill’s wish list.

Whether that proves to be the case remains to be seen.

Money will be made available, though, with Evangelos Marinakis seeking to complement off-field ambition with success on it.

Goals will, quite obviously, aid that cause.

Grabban cannot be expected to lead the charge by himself.

Already into his 30s, and with his body breaking down this season, he needs assistance.

He can expect to be the main man once again in 2019-20, but the ability to rotate and rest will put Forest in a much stronger position heading forward.

In more ways than one.