Date:Saturday February 3 2007
Nicky Southall believes Forest's FA Cup run will help make Premiership players out of their young stars.
The midfielder, who moved to Gillingham on deadline day with the chance to take on a coaching role, played in the top flight with Bolton.
And he believes he is leaving behind a host of players at the City Ground who have the potential to make the step up.
Even after they were comfortably swept aside by Chelsea in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Sunday, Southall says that 3-0 defeat could prove crucial in their development.
He said: 'It bodes well for the future of the club to have players like Julian Bennett, James Perch, Sammy Clingan and Grant Holt, and for them to play at places like Chelsea.
'They've got to try to get to this level and if they can it will be an obvious benefit to the club.'
Forest boss Colin Calderwood was reluctant to let Southall leave for the Priestfield Stadium but accepts that, at 35, the offer of a two-and-a-half year contract at his former club was too good a deal for Southall to be denied.
'I hope Forest go on to get promotion,' said Southall. 'They have got some fantastic fans there and deserve to be in a higher league. I am gutted to leave but am delighted to be back at Gillingham.
'It's a dream come true for me. To be here at this stage in my career is the right move for me. I had the option to stay at Forest but I am delighted to be back.'
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