Karanka counting on squad strength as Forest seek promotion

Aitor Karanka says every one of his Nottingham Forest players has an ‘important role to play’ if the Reds are to achieve their Premier League dreams.

Hillal Soudani came off the bench to earn a narrow 1-0 win over Reading at the City Ground, while fellow substitute Matty Cash might have made the game more comfortable as he spurned two late opportunities.

But, having spent in excess of £22million to make 13 signings this summer, Karanka says he now has a squad of 24 players who will all have a role to play if the Reds are to achieve a top-six finish in the Championship.

“It was fresh legs that made a difference and it is important to know that everyone is important in this team,” said Karanka. “A player who is in the stand for one game can be on the pitch in the next game. They all need to understand that they will all have their chance.

“I was pleased because Matty had lost his place this season but the first chance he had to show me how good he was, he did exactly that.

“Hillal was exactly the same. He was trying to show that he can play very well. Both of them played very well. I am really pleased because this was an important game and an important win.

“I know how difficult the Championship is and the important thing is to make the players understand that they are all important. It is impossible to achieve anything – but particularly promotion – with only 11 or 14 players.

“We have 23 or 24 players who are more or less the same level. Sometimes they will play and sometimes they won’t. But always it will be about the team.

“The players who came on from the bench changed the game.”

Paul Clement had seen his Reading side suffer an unlucky defeat against Derby on the opening day of the season and he was left to feel a sense of injustice again at the City Ground, following a game he felt his side could have won, with Yakou Meite twice coming agonisingly close to scoring.

“We stand here, two games in, feeling that we deserve more than we have got. But we have not got more,” he said.

“The reality is that we are an improving team. We are a better side than we were when I took over in the last eight games of the season. We are organised and we have good players who know their jobs.

“I can see improvement, so I am not worried. But myself and all the players want to turn these performances into results. We need to be coming away with at least a point from these games, if not all three.

“We need to convert the chances we get and we did not do that here. I am a little disappointed with that, because we have got the team playing offensively.

“I cannot remember a flurry of chances coming Forest’s way. But they scored a really good goal and we have not managed to put our chances away.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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