Why 24-year-old Forest star's career could be at a crossroads

Nottingham Forest's Stephen McLaughlin has reached a stage in his career where he needs to get regular first-team football.

The future of Stephen McLaughlin at Nottingham Forest is surely in doubt as he has appeared to drop out of first-team contention under Dougie Freedman.

McLaughlin came into Forest's team towards the back-end of Stuart Pearce's time in charge, but he has clearly failed to impress Freedman.

The versatile player has had to represent Forest's development side this week and it seems unlikely that he will be able to break into the first-team line-up under Freedman.

It throws his future into doubt, as McLaughlin is at a stage of his career where he needs to be getting regular football.

Although there was a hope that he would become a first-team star when he was brought to the City Ground in 2013, it seems that time has now passed. 

McLaughlin is now 24 and it means that both the player and club could well come to the realisation that they are better off parting ways in the summer.

McLaughlin has only experienced regular action in England on loan moves and it is time for him to move permanently to a club where he can feel valued.

The Irish-born player has shown that he can perform a function at League One level and there would likely be a list of clubs ready to snap him up should there be an opportunity.

Forest also need to trim their squad to ensure that they fit in with Financial Fair Play regulations and McLaughlin could find himself considered an expendable player at the end of the year.

The time appears right for the transfer to take place and considering McLaughlin's apparent demotion under Freedman it would be no surprise if he did move on. 

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