Nottingham Forest were thrashed 3-0 by Sheffield Wednesday to practically end their ambitions of a top-six finish.
A reasonable first-half was followed up by an atrocious second period and the Owls now sit above the Reds in the league.
One positive of an otherwise drab night was the return of Sam Byram.
The 25-year-old played a league game for the first time since August, having suffered a serious knee injury.
On-loan from West Ham, Byram oozed class and showcased exactly what Forest have been missing for seven long months.
Of all the Reds’ summer recruits the defender was perhaps the one that caught the eye. Having torn Forest to pieces during his time with Leeds, it was intriguing to see how he would get on at the City Ground.
Regretfully Forest have been unable to call upon the loanee and that’s a real shame.
Perhaps more worrying was the concept that Byram, despite not playing for seven months, looked head and shoulder above any other player wearing a red jersey at Hillsborough.
In a strange way, Byram’s return to fitness with just five games left might work in Forest’s favour. If he can continue in a rich vein of form then West Ham might consider letting him come back to the Reds for next season.
City Ground future
Martin O’Neill spoke in the Nottingham Post about no decision being made over his future just yet, but provided he is going to be sticking around then he needs to start thinking about players for next season.
Byram is one who should definitely be under consideration.
If he can prove his fitness then there is no reason for Forest not to be interested.
When he switched from Leeds to West Ham he cost £3.7 million, according to the Evening Standard.
In the small amount of time Forest have managed to get him out on the pitch he has shown quality.
Another move back to Trentside would suit all parties. He isn’t going to feature at West Ham and he is an upgrade on Forest’s Tendayi Darikwa.
Least of all he desperately needs to play games on a frequent basis. Forest would most certainly welcome him doing that at the City Ground.