Ward, who was released by the Rams, will divide opinion among Forest’s support base because of his past, but there are a number of positives he brings to the table, which suggest that he could be one of the best signings that Dougie Freedman makes this summer.
The most obvious thing issue that Forest can play on is the idea that he’ll have an axe to grind and a point to prove to the side he’s just left and what better way for him to do that than by performing for Derby’s arch rivals.
Freedman can work closely with him over the summer to judge what he provides, where can improve the team and what his weaknesses are to ensure that he hits the ground running when the competitive action gets underway.
His experience as a 29-year-old midfielder in the Championship is also very significant.
He spent four years with Derby before his release and will know the division well, which is significant in relation to another group of players that Freedman will quickly come to rely on; Forest’s youngsters.
He’s a good figure to have in the side because of the role he can play in terms of ensuring that younger players coming into all areas of Forest’s team aren’t flustered or affected by the pressure and responsibility.
His experience will also be important in terms of coping with the loss of Gary Gardner who has gone back to parent club Aston Villa.
His versatility will be important because he can give Freedman different options out wide and playing through the middle as a centre forward.
One of the areas Forest suffered last season was not having good options in key positions when key players picked up injuries or were unavailable through suspension.
If Forest can get the deal done then regardless of his past, it will be a good piece of business and arguably the best the club does this summer.