Steve Hodge explains how Michail Antonio’s exit is helping Nottingham Forest

Forest City Ground

Has Michail Antonio’s departure in the summer transfer window helped Nottingham Forest?

Former Tottenham Hotspur and Leeds United midfielder Steve Hodge has explained on BBC Radio Nottingham how the departure of winger Michail Antonio has helped Nottingham Forest.

Antonio, who was one of the best players for Forest last season, joined Premier League outfit West Ham United on transfer deadline day.

The former Sheffield Wednesday man scored 14 goals and created 62 chances in 46 Championship games during the 2014-15 campaign.

The 25-year-old had a pass accuracy of 60% and a shot accuracy of 44%, and won 151 headers, 104 dribbles and 42 tackles.

While many will claim that Antonio is a big loss for Dougie Freedman’s side, former Forest midfielder Hodge has explained why in one way it is a positive for the Reds.

“The whole thing does feel so much better having lost Antonio, or be it for that,” the 52-year-old told BBC Radio Nottingham on Saturday afternoon in the build-up to the Championship game between Forest and Middlesbrough at the City Ground.

“The team seems better balanced, and as I said before, if you are happy with the people around you, you know what you are doing and it isn't really a one-man band, then it’s that natural gelling together - you want to work and want to graft a little bit harder for your teammates.”

Forest lost the match 2-1 to Middlesbrough on Saturday afternoon, but even then it is hard to argue that there have not been positive signs of late.

Prior to the loss to Boro, the Reds had won against Queens Park Rangers 2-1 and Birmingham City 1-0 away from home.

Antonio was a star for Forest last season, but his departure will allow other players the chance to raise their game and prove their importance to the team.

Forest are 12th in the Championship table at the moment with 11 points from eight matches, just a point behind sixth-place Reading.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch