Mercurial McGugan's future is a mystery

Thursday 4th April 2013 13:25

McGugan: Celebrates goal at Burnley

McGugan: Celebrates goal at Burnley

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Magical midfielder Lewis McGugan has been in top form of late, but Nottingham Forest FanZoner Dan Mounser knows his future may lie elsewhere.

The man can be a magician. A mystical creature that can turn a game on its head, or provide a moment of brilliance that lives long in the memory.

Whether it be a late winner at Hartlepool to help the Reds further towards promotion from League One, holding his nerve with a 96th-minute penalty or a stunning 'goal of the season' free-kick into the top corner from 30 yards - the lad from Long Eaton undoubtedly has talent.

I'm talking about midfielder Lewis McGugan of course. However, for all the positives and accolades, he has (as a general rule) been unable to hold down a regular first-team place during his career at Nottingham Forest.

And at 24 years old, you could even go as far as saying he has underachieved in his career so far, for a player of his ability.

McGugan is a prime example of a player that needs an arm around his shoulder. It's not difficult to see that his best performances in the Garibaldi Red have come under Billy Davies' two spells as manager.

But why is this the case? Some may say it's the 'Billy Effect' and that he can get the best out of him. Others will perhaps put it down to the fact that McGugan may just enjoy playing under him. Some may even argue that it's all down to McGugan's hard work himself.

But it wasn't so long ago that many fans, myself included, were saying 'get rid', 'he doesn't care', 'he's had enough chances' and 'he doesn't work hard enough'.

Lewis can come across as lethargic, a player who you tend to 'carry' on the pitch. But this can be unjust. There's no doubt he is technically gifted and graces a football pitch but prior to Billy Davies' return, his work rate was simply not up to scratch.

But what a turnaround. His impact in recent games has been astounding even though the majority of times it has come from the substitutes' bench. Aside from arguably Henri Lansbury and Radi Majewski, nobody could really argue with the opinion that he has made the most telling contribution of the last month or so.

He looks fitter, works hard and can even be seen to be tracking back as well.

But what next for Lewis McGugan? Can he finally hold down a starting place in the side? He is out of contract in the summer so he may decide to seek pastures new on a Bosman. I know that Martin Jol and Fulham showed an interest in him last year and I'm sure his current form has attracted further interest from the Premier League in recent times.

Billy Davies would obviously like to keep him at the club but probably won't be willing to break the bank to secure his services. I'm sure he will have a plan in place should the Premier League be too tempting for him in June but it remains to be seen if his resurgence under Davies will continue to blossom next season.

If the Reds' longest serving player does decide to leave, I'm sure the fans would be forgiving if his final act was to fire Forest back into the Premier League.

By Dan Mounser, FanZone's Nottingham Forest blogger. Follow him on Twitter at @DanMounser - and don't forget to follow @FanZone too!



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