I have lost count of the number of times I have been forced to bite my tongue at Nottingham Forest games over the past couple of years, regarding the performances of Henri Lansbury in the Reds’ midfield.
On too many occasions fans have been quick to criticise him performances, despite several managers at the club opting to play him out of position in a more defensive role in the heart of midfield.
I have always said that on his day, and utilised in his best position there isn’t a single player in the Championship I would swap him for and on Friday night showed exactly why.
With Thomas Lam coming into the side as a defensive midfielder it has allowed the ex-Arsenal man to get forward more frequently, and his presence in the final third has been telling.
His stunning header which gave Forest a 3-2 lead just before the break at Oakwell was simply a joy to watch.
Apostolos Vellios showed some quality battling skills, a rejuvenated Ben Osborn put in a delicious cross and an acrobatic Lansbury applied a smart finish.
Lansbury’s first was a training ground routine which was executed to perfection and his penalty kick eight minutes from time saw the Forest skipper leave South Yorkshire with the matchball under his arm.
I appeal to certain Forest supporters (Trent End Upper, Block T5 in particular) to stop this constant nit-picking with Lansbury at home games, as it is starting to make you sound pretty stupid, if you ask me.
The 26-year-old is now proving that when he plays in his natural position he is an asset for the football club and I’d even go as far as to say he is a matchwinner when playing to his full potential.
The takeover of the football club needs to happen pretty quickly for a number of reasons but none more so than Lansbury’s new contract.
Over the years Forest have made some absolute shockers when it comes to buying and offloading players, but Lansbury leaving for nothing in the summer would be nothing short of catastrophic.
Given his age, the Forest midfielder has years left ahead of him and now the club finally has a manager who knows where to play him to best effect, so it would bode well for the club if they can get him tied down to a new deal.
The future is bright for Forest with the amount of academy prospects being handed first-team opportunities and Lansbury could be just the role model to lead them into a bright, new era for the football club.
Finally this week, I have to offer a few words on the Forest boss and although I have given him a fair bit of criticism over the past couple of weeks, the two away successes on the bounce have certainly offered some indication that Philippe Montanier is starting to grasp the Championship.
The defensive frailties reared their ugly head once again in Friday’s win but, as I said at the start of the season, whilst goals are going in at the other end, there won’t be too many serious complaints.
Forest’s French boss will now enter two massive games against Newcastle United and Derby County, looking to show that a big corner has been turned and offer the potential new investors a major sign that he is the man to take Nottingham Forest forward.