Billy Davies tells Lewis McGugan to focus on performances and put contract talks on back burner
BILLY Davies has told Lewis McGugan to focus on helping Nottingham Forest into the Championship play-offs – and put his contract concerns to one side until the summer.
The in-form midfielder found the net as the Reds beat Ipswich and Wolves last week, to extend their winning run to five games.
But McGugan is also the last of the key players at the City Ground who is set to see his contract expire at the end of the campaign.
Dexter Blackstock, Chris Cohen and Radi Majewski have all signed long-term deals during the course of the season.
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But, while he is hopeful of retaining McGugan's services in the long term, Davies wants the 24-year-old to focus on maintaining his improving form on the pitch.
And, with loan signings Gonzalo Jara and Elliott Ward and Darius Henderson, who is on a short-term contract, also looking to earn a long-term future at the club, Davies hopes McGugan will not be the only player motivated to maintain their performance levels.
"McGugan has a great deal to offer us and I have had a chat with him," said Davies, who has praised the midfielder for his fitness levels since returning for a second spell as manager.
"His contract is up in the summer but I have told him to focus on games, focus on doing well and we will take care of the contract situation at the end of the season.
"That applies to one or two other guys as well, because we have five loan players here.
"The only focus for everyone is just to do as well as we can in the remaining nine games."
McGugan has started 159 games for Forest since coming through the youth ranks, while making 64 substitute appearances and scoring 40 goals.
In the meantime, Davies believes the spirit in the dressing room – and the goalscoring form of McGugan and the rest of the Forest midfield – can be an important factor as the Reds look to maintain their outstanding form under the Scotsman.
"There is no complacency, because I am long enough in the tooth to know that you can soon lose a couple of games quickly," he said.
"But when you get that spirit that we have, then you are always going to be pleased.
"Because of the shape we are playing, we have to get more goals from Radi Majewski, Henri Lansbury and the others. The situation has encouraged them to get forward more.
"We have changed the training around slightly as well, we have put a few more demands on our midfielders and that has been important. It would be nice to get the strikers scoring goals.
"The midfielders have responded brilliantly."