Cohen – Competition for places at Nottingham Forest is healthy
CHRIS Cohen believes the fierce competition for places within the Nottingham Forest squad will play an important role in whether they are able to mount a serious promotion push in the second half of the season.
The Reds midfielder feels the size and strength of the current squad, when compared to those that came so close in the play-offs in recent years at the City Ground, may well prove to be the difference.
Despite suffering a 3-1 defeat at Ipswich on Tuesday night – in a match where the below-par performance was somewhat out-of-character of those produced on the whole this season – the Reds still sit just three points off the play-offs after 19 games.
Cohen said: "I think we've got such a big squad now compared to what we've had in previous seasons.
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"In our play-off runs we had really small, tight squads, but towards the end of the season players got tired or injured and we had to play players out of position.
"Obviously we might need to do that at certain times this season but we've got a lot of depth which means when players are looking tired or lose a bit of form we've got quality players replacing them.
"In the past we had to throw in players that hadn't played much or perhaps weren't quite as strong as the ones they were replacing.
"That's how it used to feel a little bit, but some of the players that aren't playing at the moment are fantastic players so we all know that whoever is playing has to play well every week or else you are going to lose your place."
With the high profile signings of Henri Lansbury and Adlene Guedioura, as well as Jermaine Jenas on loan, Forest's midfield is undoubtedly the area of the pitch where competition is at its greatest – a fact not lost on Cohen.
But he is sure everyone will have a vital role to play.
"JJ (Jenas) probably hasn't played as much as he would've liked but he played really well against Sheffield Wednesday," he added.
"Every time Henri has been involved he has done very well and we've also got Lewis (McGugan), Gilly (Simon Gillett) and Adi (Guedioura) who have all been great for us.
"Radi (Majewski) and Guy (Moussi) have been injured and Copps (James Coppinger) hasn't played as much as he would've liked but there's so much quality that we know when needed, they will all play a big part in the season.
"At this moment I'm fortunate enough to be playing but I'm sure there will be times when I'm not playing and I'll struggle to get back in, which is a good thing for Nottingham Forest."
Cohen spent over a year on the sidelines with a serious knee injury but has been delighted to play such an important role since his return to full fitness.
He feels that, although Forest sit well placed in the Championship standings, they have an important spell ahead in the run up to the new year.
"I've played ten or 11 90s in a row and obviously I'm very grateful to the manager for putting his faith in me and letting me play the number of games I have so far and I've really enjoyed it," continued the 25-year-old, who has been with the club since 2007.
"Overall we've had a pretty decent run in that period and it's been nice to be a part of that, but we need to keep ourselves in the mix.
"For the first few months teams chop and change, but after January – apart from one or two sides who may come out of the bottom half – the league starts to take shape, so as long as we are there or thereabouts we will give ourselves a chance to make a promotion push."