When we got to spend a bit of time with Paul Lambert last month I told him there were five players I felt were our key performers based on their contributions prior to his arrival.
They were Carl Ikeme, Matt Doherty, Dave Edwards, Helder Costa and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson.
With the possible exception of the big Icelander whose form has tailed off after that international break, none of the above have let me down.
Costa has continued to be our leading light, stepping up another level under Lambert by adding better end product.
He netted from the acutest of angles yesterday and was also instrumental in Ivan Cavaleiro’s second half goal – the two bright moments of an otherwise drab encounter.
That’s why he was brought in though – to help us rise above the opposition in these scrappy, horrible Championship slugfests by providing moments of greater quality.
Dave Edwards fulfilled a slightly different role as part of a two man midfield, using his energy to close down opposition and win back possession.
He did that with great aplomb and was rightly lauded as a Man of the Match contender.
Whatever you want to say about the guy, his goals and appetite to win the ball back have kept us afloat when we could have totally melted away.
Matt Doherty has arguably been our most potent attacking force behind Costa but many have questioned whether that’s come at the expense of his primary purpose.
There was less razzle dazzle yesterday in a more steady defensive outing for the Irishman.
Personally I wouldn’t want to put the leash on him going forward. Direct running from deep is tough to defend against. But I do agree he needs to defend with greater purpose and aggression himself.
Carl Ikeme just reassures in a way that Andy Lonergan and Harry Burgoyne perhaps don’t. That’s harsh on the youngster but we saw moments of brilliance and frailty against Cardiff, suggesting this isn’t his time just yet.
Our number one was strong and repeatedly cleared out the opposition as Forest looked for a way back into the game. We’ve got to keep him fit for the remainder of the season.
Bodvarsson is the only one of my recommended quintet who has fallen down the pecking order, but his role of impact substitute may help him come back refreshed in the new year.
But another game without a goal for our strikers surely won’t have slipped under the radar? Reinforcements are needed, even with young Bright Enobakhare looking well…bright in his second start under Lambert.
Thankfully Ivan Cavaleiro is discovering a healthy appetite for finishing and probably squeezes out Bodvarsson in my revised magic five.
I’m certain many disagree. So in the spirit of healthy debate – who makes it into yours?