Nottingham Forest's challenging season in the Premier League is under the spotlight due to the extended absence of their key striker, Taiwo Awoniyi. Sidelined with a persistent groin injury requiring surgery, Awoniyi's absence leaves a significant gap to be filled. The Nigerian striker has been a linchpin for the squad, contributing to 37.5% of the team's goal contributions with four goals and two assists in just 10 appearances this season.
Awoniyi's Crucial Role
Awoniyi's importance to Nottingham Forest goes beyond mere statistics. Last season, he was instrumental in securing the team's survival in the top flight, with six decisive goals in the latter part of the season. His stellar performance did not go unnoticed, earning him a nomination for Nottingham Forest's Fans' Footballer of The Year 2023 award.
Impact of Absence
With Awoniyi expected to be out until March, the team faces a daunting prospect. Not only will Awoniyi miss the African Cup of Nations for Nigeria, but also at least 15 Premier League matches and an FA Cup third round game. The impact of his absence is evident in the team's recent struggles, with only one win in their last 10 Premier League games.
Addressing the Challenge
Head coach Steve Cooper has a task on his hands to turn the tide. Understanding the importance of Awoniyi to the team, Cooper emphasized the need to support him through his recovery. The recent acquisition of Ibrahim Sangare and adjustments in the midfield might be part of the strategy to compensate for Awoniyi's absence, but only time will tell if these adjustments can help the team regain their footing in the Premier League.