When league leaders Newcastle United come to town, it's never a bad thing to have your prolific centre-forward available.
Nottingham Forest have been handed a huge boost ahead of Friday’s clash with top of the table Newcastle United, with manager Philippe Montanier confirming that talismanic striker Britt Assombalonga will be available to feature, The Chronicle reports.
The club-record signing scored twice to ease the mounting pressure on his manager’s shoulders in a vital 2-0 win at Ipswich Town a fortnight ago, making it six goals in eight Championship fixtures in an injury-interrupted season.
Assombalonga suffered a serious knee injury in February 2015 and has been hampered by a series of niggles since, with a hamstring problem ruling him out of Forest’s game against Barnsley last weekend – not that it mattered as Henri Lansbury’s inspired the visitors to a rampant 5-2 win.
However, Montanier has confirmed that the club’s spearhead will be fit to return once more against Newcastle as Forest look to inflict a third straight defeat on Rafael Benitez’s side.
“[Assombalonga] will be available, yes,” Montanier told reporters in quotes reported by The Chronicle.
“We have another training session yet, but he has trained all week with the group and will be available to be in the squad for Friday.”
The former Real Sociedad boss also reserved praise for the other attacking options at his disposal, with their five-goal, five-star, showing at Oakwell proving once and for all that they are not over-reliant upon Assombalonga’s clinical finishing.
Apostalos Vellios (below) scored his sixth of the season against Paul Heckingbottom’s side, while Nicklas Bendtner is back to full fitness after missing over a month.
And Montanier says he is more than happy at the prospect of such a selection headache.
“It is a very nice problem to have. I prefer to have this problem than not to have players available. It is important to have good players on the bench as well as in the starting XI,” the 52-year-old added.
“We saw this against Barnsley when Vellios went off and was replaced by Bendtner (below). He kept up the top level on the pitch. We play with 11 players on the pitch, but the substitutes can make an impact as well.”
Only Newcastle have scored more Championship goals this season than Forest.