Gardner’s uphill injury nightmare over?

Midfielder Ross Gardner has now reportedly resumed full training following a niggly thigh injury.  The former Newcastle youngster has had a frustrating time of it lately, and it’s easy to forget he has already made fifteen first team appearances for the mighty reds.  Some of his past performances have impressed me, so it will be interesting to see if he’s able to force his way into first team reckoning once he regains match fitness.

Coupled with some of the other youngsters starting to tentatively push for a first team place, it’s a really positive step, given the one-dimensionality of our midfield at the moment.  So fingers crossed he can get fit and eventually force himself into the side to get a decent run to pick up some form – at his best he reminded me a little of Steve Hodge, a terrier-like hardworker capable of popping up anywhere on the pitch, but well, we didn’t see that too often – but that’s probably owing to the appalling team he’s been playing in.

In other news, rumours of our courting James Hayter still abound, and Norwich are also reportedly interested in the striker.  I have no idea why we’d want to add him to our squad, given that we have much more pressing deficits in other positions – but well, who am I to suggest the rumour mill might be a load of nonsense?

Nicky to return to pikeyville?

Nicky Southall has spoken of a potential return to Gillingham for a third spell with the Kent club.  His family are apparently due to move back down south after Christmas, and given his ties to the area it’s where the right winger is planning on settling.  Southall’s contract with Forest expires at the end of the season, and at the ripe old age of 34 (you wouldn’t know it to see him play, mind) he’s not exactly a spring chicken.

Depending on whether the season’s goal of promotion is attained, I’m not sure whether Forest would offer Trigger a new deal – that’s not to belittle the huge contribution he’s made since arriving here on a free, but he is getting on a bit and it’s questionable whether he’d be up to performing week in week out at Championship level.  I can’t imagine Forest offering more than a year deal under any circumstance, whereas the Gills may opt to offer him longer, coupled with the proximity of his family that is likely to sway it.

Ultimately I’d be very sad to see Southall leave – he’s been a consumate professional in his time here and has chipped in with goals, and more importantly assists – but really he was never likely to be a long term fixture given his age – and if it’s better for him off the field to be at Gillingham then I wouldn’t begrudge him the move, as I’m sure most Forest fans wouldn’t.

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