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Joe Worrall issues a “challenge” as Nottingham Forest’s decision is made prior to Man City’s match.

As Joe Worrall, a defender for Nottingham Forest, appears poised for a run in the starting lineup, head coach Steve Cooper will keep up his “challenge and criticize” tactics in an effort to bring out the best in him.

Nottingham Forest's Joe Worrall

Throughout the season, Cooper has experimented with different lineups at center defense, leaving the Reds captain in and out of the starting lineup. He has experienced some ups and downs in adjusting to the move to the Premier League, just like the majority of his teammates.

The 26-year-old will now probably see more playing time, though, as Forest deals with a defensive injury crisis. And Cooper thinks that will help with the difficulties that come with competing in the highest division.

It is undoubtedly a matter of belief. Joe and I talk to each other every day, or I talk to him! However, we had a nice conversation,” the Welshman remarked.

“I just believe that Joe has been somewhat similar to the squad; he has experienced some incredibly wonderful times and has truly matured as a result of the Premier League transition, though there have also been some setbacks along the way. The same can be said of everyone of us individually.

“However, what you see in Joe is what you get: a genuine will to succeed each and every day, a willingness to lead by example on the training field, particularly when Ryan Yates (Yatey) isn’t there, and dedication. I can be tough on him at times, even criticizing him, and he takes it nicely. Since he’s the captain and the local lad, he may sometimes take the brunt of my criticism. They usually take it a little harder than the others—often unfairly, they might argue—but they manage to get by.

“All things considered, his adjustment to the Premier League has gone well. However, just like the squad and all of us, we must work to get better and improve.

“Obviously, it helps to get a run in the team because it indicates that you are playing well and making a meaningful contribution. It simply indicates that you’re adjusting to the level.

“You can flourish at any level if you can dedicate more time to it; you won’t merely grow accustomed to it. That applies to everyone.

The only two available fit central defenders for Saturday’s matchup against Manchester City are Worrall and Felipe. Because of their hamstring injuries from last weekend’s match against Fulham, Scott McKenna (six weeks) and Willy Boly (three months) will miss a lot of time from the field, while Moussa Niakhate has still not fully recovered from his own hamstring issue.

After submitting an application to the Premier League to replace Boly with Steve Cook in their 25-man roster, the team anticipates hearing back from the league today. Forest feels they have a “clear case” to amend the regulations, even if the latter was left off when the list was made following the January transfer window.

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