The English Football League have confirmed Nottingham Forest’s squad list for the second half of the season – and there are some notable omissions.
The Reds have one spot left open for their permitted 25, with three players fighting to claim it.
Harry Arter, Michael Dawson and Fouad Bachirou were all left out of the initial submission to the EFL following the closure of the January transfer window, meaning two of them face going the rest of the campaign without any first-team game time.
But what are the squad rules and what does the decision mean for the trio? We’ve taken a look.
This season saw the introduction of the 25-man squad rule for Championship clubs for the first time, bringing the second tier in line with the Premier League.
The limit must also include a minimum of eight “home grown” players, but those under the age of 21 do not count towards it, unless they were signed on loan.
Not all lists were made public following the end of the summer transfer window, with the Reds choosing not to publish theirs.
But the EFL have made the details for each of the 72 Football League teams available now the January window has closed.
League One and League Two clubs are currently permitted a maximum squad size of 22 players.
Can a player be added?
Yes, if the full 25-man quota was not submitted to the EFL, so Forest can add one of Arter, Dawson and Bachirou to their list.
EFL rules say: “The League will only consider granting permission to make changes to the Squad List outside of a Transfer Window where: the Club’s current Squad List contains less than the maximum number of Players permitted to be included on the Squad List and the Club wishes to add an Out of Registration Player or another Player registered with the Club but not currently included on the Squad List, or in other truly exceptional circumstances.”
Changes can take place during a transfer window, with the EFL rules stating: “The League will consider granting permission to a change to the Squad List during a Transfer Window where: the Club’s current Squad List contains less than the maximum number of Players permitted to be included on the Squad List; or the Club’s current Squad List contains the maximum number of Players permitted to be included on the Squad List, the Club must apply to remove a Player from its Squad List (and have received written confirmation from The League) before applying to add the new Player.”
Who are Forest’s ‘home grown’ players?
The Reds have 14 players who come into that category included on their list.
They are Sammy Ameobi, Tyler Blackett, Cyrus Christie, Jack Colback, Luke Freeman, James Garner, Lewis Grabban, Carl Jenkinson, Joe Lolley, Glenn Murray, Jordan Smith, Lyle Taylor, Joe Worrall and Ryan Yates.
Why are Loic Mbe Soh and Alex Mighten not included?
Both are under the age of 21 and do not count towards the 25-man total as they are contracted to the club.
They are included in the list of Under-21 contracted players which the EFL have also made public.
James Garner is under 21, but as a loan player he has to be included in the 25-man squad list.
Goalkeepers: Brice Samba, Jordan Smith, Abdoulaye Diallo.
Defenders: Tyler Blackett, Gaetan Bong, Cyrus Christie, Carl Jenkinson, Scott McKenna, Yuri Ribeiro, Tobias Figueiredo, Joe Worrall.
Midfielders: Sammy Ameobi, Jack Colback, Luke Freeman, James Garner, Anthony Knockaert, Filip Krovinovic, Joe Lolley, Cafu, Samba Sow, Ryan Yates.
Strikers: Lewis Grabban, Glenn Murray, Lyle Taylor.
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Transfer deadline day is almost here again and we’ll have all the latest news and rumours in the build-up as the Reds continue the dramatic rebuild of their squad before Monday’s 11pm cut off point.
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Under-21 contracted players
Marcelo Saraiva, Elliott Andrew, Keith Asare, Fin Back, Josh Barnes, Ethan Dekel Daks, Yassine En-Neyah, Baba Fernandes, Tyrese Fornah, Virgil Gomis, Riley Harbottle, Brennan Johnson, Ateef Konate, Julian Larsson, Adrian Galliani, Loic Mbe Soh, Marcus McGuane, Alex Mighten, Grigorios Pietris, Fotios Pikoulas, Danny Preston, Rezart Rama, Jayden Richardson, Sam Sanders, George Shelvey, Malique Spooner, Michael Statham, Will Swan, Dale Taylor, Morgan Thomas-Sadler, Jordan Wright.
What of the players left out?
Arter, Dawson and Bachirou have all struggled with injury problems at times this term.
Former Bournemouth man Arter remains sidelined with a calf issue.
Out of the three, he has made more appearances this season, with 14 under his belt – the last one being against Cardiff City in the FA Cup at the start of last month.
Bachirou has featured on just three occasions, having missed a large chunk of the campaign, while Dawson has not got out on the pitch at all.
All find themselves down the pecking order, with several players ahead of them. For Arter and Bachirou, particularly, boss Chris Hughton has a lot of options in midfield, especially since the arrival of Manchester United loanee Garner.
Who goes on to grab the final place could depend on Forest’s injury situation and where the manager needs more numbers – although the fact Arter has played more, might count in his favour.
For the other two, it is likely to be a long few months ahead and could place their longer-term futures at the City Ground in doubt.
Arter was linked with a move away in January, while Hughton admitted he considered allowing Bachirou to leave on loan.
For Dawson, his contract comes to an end in the summer, as does that of Michael Hefele – unsurprisingly not included in the squad given he has been out of the picture for some time.
Arter’s deal runs until 2023 and Bachirou is under contract until the summer of 2022.
There is the opportunity to get involved in matches for Andy Reid’s Under-23s, however, as Bachirou did against Coventry City on Monday night.
What has the manager said?
On his squad list, Hughton said: “We still have a place to add somebody.
“The players who are in the squad are the players who have been playing and have been fit.
“We have left a spot open because of the players we have got, and in a couple of those circumstances, they are players who have not been fit.
“There is still that opportunity and still something for these players to drive for.
“All you can be is true about the decisions you make, be clear about the decisions you make and be as honest as you can about the decisions you make.
“You are making those decisions not just for you, but for the betterment of the team.”
He added: “What you always have to do is make the best decisions for the group, for the club and the team that we’ve got.
“There is always a very good reason to fight; it’s either to make sure you are in that squad, make sure you’re in the 25 and make sure you stay in the team. They are all the reasons they have to fight.”