Nottingham Forest should be wary as Championship trio reportedly eye Eric Lichaj

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka during the Premier League match between Everton and Middlesbrough at Goodison Park on September 17, 2016 in Liverpool, England.

Nottingham Forest may have to fight off competition for Eric Lichaj with QPR, Bolton Wanderers and Stoke City reportedly keen.

Eric Lichaj of Forest celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Nottingham Forest and Birmingham City at the City Ground on October 14, 2016 in...

The Nottingham Forest side that begins next season could look very different to the one that stumbled to a 17th-place finish in 2017/18.

Jack Hobbs and David Vaughan have been released upon the expiry of their contracts, Chris Cohen has retired and both Jack Colback and Lee Tomlin have departed at the end of loan spells, with doubts around whether they will return to the City Ground.

So Forest must think very carefully as interest ramps up in Eric Lichaj.

The Nottingham Post state that the American defender is entering the final year of his contract and is a target for a number of Championship rivals including QPR, Bolton Wanderers and Gary Rowett’s Stoke City.

Derby manager Gary Rowett  looks on during the Sky Bet Championship match between Derby County and Bristol City at the iPro Stadium on January 19, 2018 in Derby, England.

From a business point of view, it would make sense to sell a 29-year-old now given that he would be available for free in 12 months as things stand. But can Forest really afford to lose another experienced member of their squad?

The current Forest team is made up largely of young talents such as Ben Brereton, Joe Worrall and Matty Cash, not to mention a number of new imported additions such as Stefanos Kapino and Andreas Bouchalakis.

Lichaj, however, is one of the most experienced and consistent members of Aitor Karanka’s squad, having made around 200 appearances for the club since signing back in 2013. So losing him, as well as Cohen, Hobbs, Vaughan, Colback and Tomlin, could have a big impact both on and off the pitch.

Eric Lichaj of Nottingham Forest tackles Kenedy of Chelsea during the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Chelsea and Nottingham Forest at Stamford Bridge on September 19, 2017 in London,...

Although Cohen, Vaughan and Hobbs in particular were not regulars last season due to injury, it is always important to have plenty of role models in the dressing room, particularly in a Forest side renowned for bringing through young talent.

Rather than sell Lichaj, perhaps Forest should push him to the fore.

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