Nottingham Forest are facing a tense final day of the loan window today as Dougie Freedman scrambles to improve his attacking options over the rest of the season.
Freedman may also have one eye on the transfer market looking ahead to the summer, where clubs could try and test the Reds' resolves with bids for some of the club’s best players.
It’s important the Scot protects his key players because Forest have the spine of a squad which could compete for promotion next season.
Here are three players he needs to protect in the transfer market.
Started for the England under-20 side last night and has been one of the most consistent players for Freedman since he took over at the City Ground. He’s got four years left on his current deal, which allows Forest to waste the time of any club that tries to poach him.
Osborn is showing a real maturity in the Forest midfield and offers control on the ball whether he’s been forced to drop a bit deeper or whether he’s been pushed further forward to link up the attacking areas of the team.
Antonio has been frightening in Forest’s attack under Freedman. Forest do well to get him into situations where he’s able to isolate defenders, before backing himself to get the better of that player in a straight up duel.
Antonio has the potential to carry the attack of the team. He’s big, he’s powerful, he’s intimidating and he’s someone who generally gives Forest a better chance of going up next season if the club can keep him.
The forward had 15 goals in the Championship before he got injured. That’s a very impressive strike rate, which could tempt sides into trying to bid for him.
However, Freedman hasn’t yet worked with him and should be keen to retain a player who has already proven to be so effective in the division that Forest are likely to be competing in throughout next season.