Pearce comments on Assombalonga's chances of playing at the AFCON in January

Nottingham Forest doesn't expect Britt Assombalonga to play at the African Cup of Nations.

January may be a nervy month for Nottingham Forest - but not through the fear of losing players in the transfer window. 

While many in the Football League will be hoping to keep their star players away from the clutches of the Premier League, Forest will be fighting against the international schedule. 

Britt Assombalonga's form for the side this season, which has seen him score 11 league goals to date, has attracted the attention of the Democratic Republic of Congo after they qualified for the African Cup of Nations. 

Assombalonga was born in the DR Congo, before moving to England as a youngster, and his country of birth are now interested in the possibility of giving him his first caps at the international tournament. 

If Assombalonga does join up, he will have to miss most of Forest's matches across January and February - and that would be a major blow to the side.

It is not something which is concerning Reds boss Stuart Pearce too much for the time being, though. 

"At this moment I can't see him going away in January but who knows," Pearce told BBC Radio Nottingham. "I think he said to Congo that he would prefer to keep his options open.

"The choice is always his. I was very proud to represent my country so I would never influence a player to play or not play for their country. That is purely a personal decision and we will support whatever decision he makes."

Assombalonga has been Forest's main goal threat since joining from Peterborough United in a £5.5 million transfer in the summer. 

Without him, their attacking options look a lot more limited and the club cannot afford to lose their better players as they chase promotion. 

Forest are currently lurking just outside the play-offs and will need all their protagonists at the top of their game if they are to climb back into the top six.

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