No less than four Nottingham Forest players featured in the Awards Ceremony of the EFL last night with Brennan Johnson receiving the prestigious honour as Sky Bet Championship Young Player of the Year for 2021/22.
The Welsh capped winger has scored 15 times this season and stated upon winning the award “It’s just down to the hard work of the team, we’ve all been really good pretty much all season and hopefully that can continue”.
Johnson joined three of his team-mates for the evenings accolades with Ryan Yates, Joe Worrall, and Djed Spence, the latter also nominated for the young player of the season award, all being selected for the Championship team of the season.
The honours are recognition to what has been a fabulous season for Nottingham Forest who are fourth in the table and look set to compete at the very minimum in next months playoffs with a chance to gain long awaited promotion back to the Premier League.
The Reds take on champions Fulham tomorrow night at Craven Cottage and all four of Forest’s nominated players will feature as will the Championship Player of the season Aleksander Mitrovic who has scored 41 times this season already.
Hope is with the Cottagers already promoted, that their foot may be well and truly pressed ‘off’ the gas and Forest (73 points from 42 played) will be looking to avenge a heavy defeat at the City Ground earlier in the campaign when on the day, despite playing well, Steve Cooper’s side suffered a first defeat under his stewardship and a 4-0 loss that is by far the Garibaldi’s heaviest of the campaign.
An unlikely win in South West London will put huge pressure on second placed Bournemouth (78pts) who themselves go to Swansea City tomorrow, should the Reds close the gap to two points they’ll have the chance next Monday (in between Forest playing Swansea themselves and Bournemouth travelling to Blackburn) to pick off the Cherries in a head to head battle, should results go Forest’s way over the next week it could make for a very exciting and important game next Tuesday night at the Vitality Stadium.
Dizzy heights of automatic promotion aside, the Reds still need a point to assure themselves of being in the playoff mix, fans will note ‘we have been here before’ and will take nothing for granted until that has been achieved.
Also in that mix right now are Huddersfield Town (76pts) who sit third and Luton Town (72pts) in fifth, Hatters Manager Nathan Jones taking the Manager of the Year accolade above candidates which included Steve Cooper, both teams sandwiching Forest with only two games left to play compared to the Reds four remaining. Sheffield United (69pts) occupy the sixth playoff spot and need a minimum win, perhaps a draw on top, to assure themselves of being in the hat for the knockouts come the season end.
Whether the Reds will be settling for playoffs with the likes of Huddersfield, Luton & the Blades or chasing higher goals with Bournemouth this time next week, we’ll certainly see in due course, but should the likes of Johnno, Yatesy, Spence & Worrall continue their good form, the chance is that anything is possible with a team that is currently pulling up trees under their current Head Coach.
*Main image @NFFC the Reds award winners Spence, Yates, Worrall & Brennan Johnson.