Nottingham Forest comfortably despatched Greek outfit Atromitos on Saturday to start their pre-season tour in emphatic fashion.

The Reds’ goals came from Sammy Ameobi, Michael Dawson and Joe Lolley.

Friendly contests don’t always offer much. Indeed, results aren’t worth worrying about. Performances and minutes into rusty legs are far more important.

One thing that these can provide, however, is clues towards which players the manager might be favouring ahead of the big kick-off.

Image Credit: Nottingham Forest

Arguably the most important partnership on a football pitch is one between the two central defenders.

Goalscorer Dawson might have notched a rare goal on Saturday, but he may have to play more of a watching brief over the next 10 months.

Boss Sabri Lamouchi opted to start the Atromitos game with Alex Milosevic and Tobias Figueiredo as the two central defenders.

Flanked by Tendayi Darikwa and Yuri Ribeiro at full-back and Aro Muric in goal, it looked very much like a potential back five for the first league game of the season.

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

That could see Dawson play a bit-part role.

At 35 and with one year left on his deal, the Forest fan favourite is coming to the end of his career.

Milosevic, 27 and Figueiredo, 25 are players that could go on and play for five more years at the heart of the Reds’ back four and it would be a wise move for Lamouchi to make those two his first-choice partnership.

During a 46 game campaign, Dawson will still play a part.

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Not least in the dressing room. Having the former England defender on the bench and in the dressing room will still be a brilliant asset to call upon.

His influence on the younger players should not be underestimated. The notion that he should be offloaded as a surplus member of the squad is completely ridiculous.

Dawson still has a part to play, it just might not be the one he’s been familiar with throughout his career.