If the evidence of Friday’s Professional Development League defeat to Birmingham City is anything to go by Abdoulaye Diallo is alive and playing well for Nottingham Forest’s Under 23s.
Appearing at Leamington FC’s New Windmill Ground probably wasn’t what the Senegal international had in mind when he first signed for Forest from Gençlerbirliği in the last transfer window – but any footballing oxygen is welcome for an experienced professional who has been starved of it all season.
Indeed the 28-year-old, who signed in September to compete with Brice Samba and Jordan Smith, has not been used by either of Forest’s managers this term.
Just as Sabri Lamouchi failed to hand Diallo an opportunity, so too Chris Hughton has remained unmoved by his presence.
It was something of a surprise to see him feature for Andy Reid’s development squad a couple of weeks ago – and even more so to see him play so well in this 1-0 reverse.
Here’s how he got on against Blues.
The stock in trade for any goalkeeper and an area in which Diallo excelled in the second half.
Not that he was bad in the first period – just that Birmingham didn’t have a single shot on target.
However, they peppered Forest’s goal in the second period and Diallo stood tall producing a string of good saves.
On the hour he beat away Oriol Soldevila’s drive from the right at his near post and minutes later easily stopped Adan George’s side-footer from the left.
With 20 minutes to go he repelled a low drive by Josh Andrews who had broken free of the defence – and seconds later he pulled out his best save of the game.
Tate Campbell’s shot was blocked by Oliver Hammond but ballooned off the substitute and Andrews volleyed the ricochet to Diallo’s right and producing a flying save.
The only shot that beat him was George’s 57th minute penalty but even then he guessed right and only narrowly missed applying a touch.
Barely anything came into his box in the first half, he started the second with a meaty punch away from a Birmingham corner.
Probably half a dozen balls flew into the Forest box and Diallo either dealt with them or judiciously left them for his defenders.
There were a couple of times in the second 45 when he raced to the edge of his area to sweep up attempted through balls.
This was a difficult pitch but Diallo’s technique held up well. He middled most of his clearances, apart from one, midway through the second half which he scuffed when under pressure. That attempt skidded low through midfield, straight to Tate Campbell and set Birmingham off on the attack.
Garibaldi Red podcast – listen and subscribe
The Garibaldi Red podcast is our weekly Nottingham Forest podcast featuring fans, ex-players and managers or Forest supporting journalists, such as Darren Fletcher, Daniel Storey and Gregor Robertson.
Interviewees have included Frank Clark, Paul Hart, Sean O’Driscoll, Ian Storey-Moore, Paul Anderson and Nathan Tyson, while Reds legend Garry Birtles is a regular guest.
When and how does it go out?
The show goes out at least once a week, every week, either on Mondays, Wednesdays or both. Episodes tend to be 45 minutes to an hour long.
How to subscribe
It can be found on all major podcast platforms and we have a YouTube channel. The show is often streamed live on our Facebook page, which means we take comments and questions from listeners in real time.
Listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts here or you can watch episodes and subscribe to our YouTube channel. Most episodes are also streamed on Facebook so like our page for alerts when videos will begin.
Forest were quiet for long periods but you could hear the experienced goalkeeper barking orders and instructions out from the back.
Overall it was an impressive display for a player clearly used to operating at a much higher level.
Will it be enough to break into Hughton’s first team squad? Potentially not but only time will tell,
Click here to read this post on the originating website.