Jack Colback was not given a look in at Newcastle United this season but has looked a man reborn since moving to Nottingham Forest on loan during the January transfer window.
The tenacious midfielder has formed an impressive partnership with fellow new arrival Ben Watson in the centre of the park under Aitor Karanka, and it speaks volumes that a Forest side who haemorrhaged goals for fun before Colback’s arrival have now conceded just once a game on average with the 28-year-old in the side.
So if the opportunity arose, surely Forest would not turn down the chance to sign Colback permanently. Though, if he continues to perform, the former Sunderland man is bound to attract interest from elsewhere, possibly from clubs in the Premier League needing a hard-working presence in midfield.
Watson, speaking to the Nottingham Post, believes everyone at the City Ground wants Colback to stay, nut, tellingly, he admits that there are many hurdles that Forest would have to overcome.
So reports in The Mirror (14th March page 51) stating that Forest are eyeing Burnley’s experienced midfielder Dean Marney may suggest that Karanka’s side are putting plans in place if Colback does not stick around.
Marney might be a lot older at 34 and has not played a game this season as he continues to recover from a cruciate ligament injury suffered in January 2017.
But, like Colback, the former England U21 ace is a tough-tackling and energetic presence in the midfield that would give Forest a huge amount of Championship experience. He has won promotion from the second tier on three occasions.
And while Marney would be a solid addition with his contract expiring in June, keeping Colback should be the priority.