Steve Cooper faces some difficult selection selections for Nottingham Forest’s match against Brentford this weekend.

The Reds return to the City Ground on Sunday, hoping to go back to winning ways following defeats at Manchester City and Burnley. Cooper also has some important decisions to make about his starting lineup.

At the Etihad Stadium, the Welshman turned to a back three and packed the midfield in an attempt to stop the defending Premier League champions. His favored strategy appears to be a four-man defense.

It seems likely there will be a change at full-back, given Nuno Tavares was forced off against City. If he is ruled out, Ola Aina could go back to playing on the left and fit-again Serge Aurier could start at right-back, although Gonzalo Montiel gave a good account of himself against Pep Guardiola’s men when he came on.

Willy Boly and Moussa Niakhate got the nod, alongside Aurier, at centre-back last time out. Skipper Joe Worrall will be pushing hard to reclaim a spot, though, while the Reds continue to wait for Felipe to make his first appearance of the campaign as he recovers from a knee problem.

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Cooper has no shortage of options in midfield. Nicolas Dominguez impressed on his debut last weekend, and it would be harsh to consider leaving him out on Sunday.
Who lines up alongside him is tough to call, however. It could be a game which suits Ryan Yates, with the academy graduate having had to watch from the substitutes’ bench last time out.

It is not an easy decision to make, however, particularly if Forest go with two in the centre of the pitch. Ibrahim Sangare is yet to find his feet following his deadline day move, but needs minutes to help him bed in. Orel Mangala, by contrast, has the experience of last term in the Premier League to draw upon and has made a steady start to the campaign.
Opting for 4-2-3-1, while leaving a tough choice in midfield, would allow Cooper to field an exciting quartet in attack. Callum Hudson-Odoi and Anthony Elanga dropped to the bench at the Etihad, but at least one of the duo will surely be back in the team this weekend.

Indeed, both could come in to join Morgan Gibbs-White in supporting front man Taiwo Awoniyi. Alternatively, if Cooper plumps for a 4-3-3, the Reds boss would have to decide which of Gibbs-White, Elanga and Hudson-Odoi misses out.


Predicted Forest XI: Turner; Aurier, Boly, Niakhate, Aina; Dominguez, Sangare; Hudson-Odoi, Gibbs-White, Elanga; Awoniyi.

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