Martin O’Neill might have been a legend as a player at Nottingham Forest, forming a key part of the side who won successive European Cups under Brian Clough. But that does not mean he is a popular figure in the dugout.
Forest fans were left divided when the 66-year-old returned to the City Ground in January to replace Aitor Karanka and O’Neill’s reputation has taken a battering among some sections of the support ever since.
Nottingham Forest have won just one of their last five Championship games, including successive defeats to Rotherham United and Sheffield Wednesday, while a rather agricultural style of play has hardly earned O’Neill many admirers.
In particular, his ongoing omission of Joao Carvalho has become a stick with which to beat the former Sunderland and Celtic boss.
The £13 million record signing (BBC) is the most naturally gifted footballer in O’Neill’s squad but the fact that he has started just one Championship game in the last three months speaks volumes.
O’Neill has often prioritised pragmatism and energy rather than unpredictability and inspiration, leaving Carvalho stuck on the bench, much to the chagrin of many supporters.
If Carvalho goes, this will do little for O’Neill’s reputation.