We all know how the players we borrowed from others performed for us; we saw them with our own eyes. Some performed admirably – step forward Gary Gardner, while others impressed us less – say a big hello Tom Ince. Some were pretty much OK; not awesome but decent when called upon – give us a wave Jack Hunt and Todd Kane.
But what about those players that the club kindly sent out on work experience? Here’s a brief rundown of how they fared while away from the City Ground:
The perennial left back problem remains very much a conundrum within a riddle surrounded by an enigma engulfed by a…you get the idea. Initially, Dan seemed to perform reasonably well but then he was farmed out to Millwall. It seems that their feelings down at the Den are akin to the general Forest perspective:
He had a couple of good games and a couple of bad games. Mostly, though, he was just 'there', if you know what I mean. 5-6/10 every week. Having said that, he came into a poor side. Did get caught out of position a few times, yeah. Not awful, but not great. Would be interesting to see how he gets on if he signs on for next year. I'd personally give him a chance in League One next season.(@IamtheLitch)
It looks like Super Dan may have found his level.
Perennial ‘not quite a winger and not quite a striker’ Matt Damon-a-like spent a year being very industrious and bustling down at Reading. Here’s the Royals’ view:
In the space of a season Mackie showed exactly why he's endeared himself to so many fanbases and yet at the same time, highlighted why he's maybe not cut it at the very top level.
Seen very much as a 'fan on the pitch' you can't knock Jamie's passion, dedication and work rate. He charges about the pitch and is more than happy to get stuck in for the cause which very much endeared him to the Reading fans in a season where passion was often lacking.
However, aside from a purple patch in February and March, there wasn't an awful lot of end product for Mackie who ended the season with just six goals in 39 games in all competitions. Not all of that was his fault but as one of our main attacking options, his contribution to scoring goals and creating chances for others wasn't overwhelming.
With that being said he's a player we'd very much like to have back but only if the price is right. By all accounts he's on very good money at Forest so unless he's happy to take a pay cut and Forest to sell him cheaply, I think we might have seen the last of him at the Madejski.(@TheTilehurstEnd)
So there you have it – looks like he’ll be back at the City Ground wearing one of those fancy bra type things that the Forest training staff insist on to ensure the players haven’t eaten too many bags of crisps when the pre season training pictures are released. In fact, Mackie was voted a very respectable 3rd in the Player of the Season award.
But what about all the other ex-Forest players middle-classing it up and down the aisles at Waitrose? Thought you’d never ask. This is how they’re doing:
In terms of former Forest players, Simon Cox started the season excellently only to fade dramatically. Cox bagged eight goals before Christmas but the departure of Glenn Murray and arrival of Steve Clarke really limited both his game time and his impact and the former Reading Academy graduate didn't score at all in 2015. Having been sent packing by Clarke at West Brom his future doesn't look overly bright under him at the Madejski either.
Chris Gunter continues to be a solid full-back who looks to have found his level. Regularly wore the captains armband under Nigel Adkins before Steve Clarke looked elsewhere, he's steady but unspectacular.
Garath McCleary was awesome last season but a back injury and the team's own poor form look to have really taken something from him during this campaign. Whether it's to do with the injury or general motivation levels I'm not sure but he certainly took half a step backwards last year. Still one of our most dangerous players, his return to form will be a key part in any return to promotion contention next season. (@TheTilehurstEnd)
No real surprises there then – yep, pretty much what we expected. Although slightly surprised not to hear mention of Simon Cox’s continuing inability to understand the offside rule or to stay on his feet when one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
There was a fair bit of head scratching and bemused faces when Tesche was allowed to leave for Birmingham City. Neat, tidy and capable of screaming one in from long distance, Tesche seemed at home at the City Ground. It turns out that we aren’t the only ones that rate him:
If he'd have been with us the whole of the campaign, he'd have been our player of the season. He allowed us to up a gear in the middle of the park, improved our ball retention significantly and gave us another option behind the front man. In short, I don't want him to go back and I sincerely hope we sign him permanently.(@often_partisan)
With David Vaughan struggling and lord only knows when we may see Andy Reid string pulling in midfield, it would certainly be worth sending a taxi to St. Andrews to bring him back. And a driver too.
Of course he isn’t ours anymore but in many ways, he always will be. He too rocked up at Birmingham City and…well…proved himself to be a lovely fella:
Moussi played very little; we had better options. Donated his wages to charity though, which was nice. (@often_partisan)
Good on him.
The young defender traversed Trent Bridge and seems to have acquitted himself well:
He was the sort of player that you didn't notice, therefore apart from last game made no mistakes, just got on with the job.(@stroller_notts)
Stephen McLaughlin was also borrowed by the Pies but seems to have frustrated somewhat:
McLaughlin flitted in and out games, his crossing of the ball did produce some goals, would not take on defenders. (@stroller_notts)
Perhaps this is why Stuart Pearce deployed him at left back, with disastrous consequences ensuing against Millwall at home.
McLaughlin has also rocked up at Roots Hall, assisting the Southend United in their quest to escape from League 2. After notching a vital goal in the play off semi facial against Stevenage, he has been granted the freedom of the town, meaning he can drive his sheep across any bridge he so desires and has 24 hour access to the slotties on the pier.
What with the embargo and Dougie Freedman yet to find that piece of paper on which he scribbled down the names of player she wanted to ‘do one’, the picture on who’ll be partaking in pre season training remains as murky as ever.
Huge thanks to all of the above who were kind enough to share their views on this band of merry men.