Date:Monday November 6 2006
It was difficult to decide which was the greater surprise - Nathan Tyson's presence on the Nottingham Forest bench or Grant Holt's.
If Tyson's return from a torn ligament has been even quicker than expected, it is no more remarkable than Colin Calderwood's decision to overlook Holt.
Forest's leading scorer this season was on target again in Tuesday's Johnstone's Paints Trophy victory over Brentford but it still wasn't enough to prompt his manager to break-up the partnership of Junior Agogo and Neil Harris.
That will surely change once Tyson is ready to play a full 90 minutes but the continued absence of Holt is a disservice to the part he has played in Forest's rise.
The ex-Rochdale man must wonder what he has to do to break back into the first team in a season that has seen him produce his best form since his £300,000 move to Forest.
Seven goals in 13 starts is the most prolific of the front men, but doesn't tell the full story of his contribution to the campaign.
So often in those early weeks, it was Holt's prodigious work rate and thrust that provided Forest's cutting edge as they struggled to cope with the loss of Tyson and Kris Commons.
By contrast Junior Agogo and Neil Harris made it a combined 16 games without a goal on Saturday as they were withdrawn in the second half.
There is little argument that both have performed admirably, particularly Agogo, who produced a virtuoso display against the same opponents on Tuesday - but as strikers they are in the team to score goals.
Nicky Southall's hot streak has papered over the forwards' failings and it was notable that the goals on Saturday again came from midfield.
In all, Calderwood fielded five strikers at various points during Forest's fifth successive win - with none of them scoring.
Not that Agogo did not have his chances to get only his second goal in 12 appearances, the most noteworthy being when he skied an effort from four yards.
Harris, meanwhile, has hardly looked like adding to his tally since breaking his duck against Chesterfield in September.
That point was only emphasised by the reaction Tyson received when warming up. The sideshow was in danger of upstaging the main event as the crowd cheered his every step.
Again you had to feel for Holt. Not only has his route to the first team been blocked but now he finds himself overshadowed on the bench as well.
Calderwood may insist he has no concerns about the lack of goals from his front men but his decision to involve Tyson after only 25 minutes in a behind-closed-doors reserve match, told another story.
Likewise his decision to give the former Wycombe man 24 minutes to stretch his legs when some might have expected more of a cameo appearance.
As his languid figure emerged from the dugout, the only disappointment for the majority of the crowd was that they did not get to see him partner Agogo, who made way rather than Harris.
Calderwood is surely licking his lips as much as the fans at the prospect of an Agogo/Tyson partnership.
Agogo's vision and assured touch, combined with Tyson's speed and cool head has the potential to devastate defences.
Which is great news for everyone at the City Ground, except perhaps for Grant Holt.
Nottingham Evening Post
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