Nottingham Forest boss sets out team selection approach after injury blow

Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper has vowed whoever steps in to replace the injured Scott McKenna against Liverpool will be ready.

The centre-back is facing up to five weeks on the sidelines with a hamstring problem, having been forced off in Wednesday night’s victory over QPR. That came after the Reds had already been hit with the loss of Steve Cook and Max Lowe for six weeks, when they suffered ankle and groin injuries respectively in last weekend’s thumping of Reading.

Tobias Figueiredo came into the back line to replace Cook in midweek and is expected to get a run-out again for the FA Cup quarter-final on Sunday, alongside Joe Worrall. Forest have Loic Mbe Soh and January signing Jonathan Panzo as other centre-backs on the books – although both have struggled for game time – while midfielder Ryan Yates has also dropped into a three-man defence before. Cooper also has the option of switching to four at the back.

The Welshman was giving little away ahead of the weekend’s clash, however. Asked about Mbe Soh and Panzo as potential options, he said: “We try to prepare every player to play.

“We’ve seen in recent games how Cafu has stepped in and Toby came back in the other day. We’ve looked at the impact of the lads who have come on later in the game – Joe Lolley the other night, Sam (Surridge) and Cafu again.

“We try to train every player with the idea of them being in the best place possible if they are selected for the next game. I understand the question because of the injuries at centre-back, but it’s not just those two boys, it’s the same approach with everyone, in terms of how we train the players.”


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