Did Nottingham Forest make a mistake in letting Simon Cox join Reading?

Madejski Reading

Will Nottingham Forest live to regret the decision to sell Simon Cox after seeing the Reading man comfortably outperform their support strikers?

Simon Cox never really got going at Nottingham Forest, with it difficult to argue that he offered a positive return on the £2 million investment made in his services.

That said, might Stuart Pearce now be regretting the decision to let the Republic of Ireland international move on over the summer?

Upon inheriting the managerial reins at the City Ground, Pearce was quick to pass judgement on the 27-year-old and deem him surplus to requirements.

Reading were prepared to do business with their Championship rivals, with Cox returning to the club that helped to launch his career after progressing through their academy system.

It has been a happy homecoming, with the goals starting to flow again for a man who has struggled to deliver on a consistent basis since taking League One by storm with Swindon Town.

His figures are considerably better than the back-up forwards he left behind on Trentside, with the likes of Matty Fryatt and Lars Veldwijk yet to catch fire.

With Dexter Blackstock also out of the picture at Forest on the back of his injury struggles, the goalscoring torch has been carried almost exclusively by Britt Assombalonga.

Michail Antonio has weighed in with a priceless return from the flanks but promotion hopefuls should not be relying on wingers, however attack-minded they may be, to fire a surge towards the Premier League.

Should Forest have given Cox more time? Would he have been a better option alongside Assombalonga, or coming off the bench with his physicality and work rate, than Fryatt – a man who will be on a top-flight salary – and Veldwijk – a man previously untested in English football?

  TeamGoalsGoal AssistTotal Att AssistTotal Scoring AttOntarget Scoring AttTotal PassTotal Through BallAppearancesMins Played
Simon Cox Reading 7 1 26 26 13 421 2 18 1,237
Matty Fryatt Forest 4 2 9 18 8 241 1 13 888
Lars Veldwijk Forest 0 0 0 2 0 12 0 5 43

The Opta statistics above suggest that Cox has been quick to prove a point to his former employers.

Regular starts in surroundings in which he feels comfortably have undoubtedly helped the powerful frontman to flourish, with Cox only one goal shy – in just 21 appearances – of matching his best return during his two seasons at Forest.

As a busy forward who likes to keep defences on their toes by dropping deep and drifting wide, he has also been able to fire in a greater number of efforts on goal and attempt more assists than those on the books in Nottingham.

He has also taken in more minutes, with Fryatt having endured niggling knocks since leaving Hull City and Veldwijk yet to convince since swapping the Dutch second-tier with Excelsior for its English equivalent.

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