‘Just imagine where we’d be without him’: Steve Cooper backs Brennan Johnson to fire Nottingham Forest out of the bottom three, as the Premier League strugglers bid to end a nine-match winless run against Man United
- Brennan Johnson has scored eight goals in his first Premier League campaign
- The Wales international has been central to Nottingham Forest’s way of playing
- Johnson could be key to Forest’s hopes of avoiding the drop despite a tough run
Steve Cooper is backing Brennan Johnson to fire Nottingham Forest to safety.
The Wales international has been a shining light in what has been a difficult season for Forest on their return to the Premier League.
His pace on the counter-attack has been vital to their way of playing and his eight goals makes him the top scorer.
Forest need their homegrown asset to keep on firing in the final stages of the campaign as nine games without a win has seen them slip back into the bottom three.
That will have to start with Sunday’s visit of Manchester United and Cooper hopes he can flourish.
Brennan Johnson leads Nottingham Forest’s goalscoring charts with eight this season
Steve Cooper has praised Johnson’s commitment to improve to help the club’s survival bid
‘Just imagine where we’d be without him,’ Cooper said. ‘I love working with Brennan, I see how hungry he is to do well.
‘I know how important the club is to him and his family. I love seeing a young player wanting to learn and get better and not just doing the stuff on the training pitch and matchdays but the stuff around it as well – the holistic approach to being an elite athlete.
‘I’ve loved working with him, like all of the lads.
‘But Brennan, I really, really enjoy working with him because he’s so committed to be the best he can be and doing well for this club that he absolutely loves and also he’s got a talent we need to nurture because it’s really helpful to us.
‘He’ll definitely be playing on Sunday and we’ll be trying to work in a way where he can flourish because that’s what it gives us.’
Given their run of fixtures, with United, Liverpool, Brighton and Chelsea all still to play, Forest look a good bet to go down at this stage, which will undoubtedly raise questions about Johnson’s future.
But Cooper, whose own position is still under scrutiny, does not want to think about the possibility of him being sold.
‘I don’t want to say that now – that’s for the end of the season,’ he said. ‘What I do know is he’s super talented.
‘Brennan is a really humble, hard-working and caring.’
Forest versus Manchester United is a fixture synonymous with the club’s glory days under Brian Clough.
Cooper played down suggestions Johnson could be sold by Nottingham Forest in the summer
Forest are currently in the bottom three and face a tough run-in to the Premier League season
That history has weighed heavy on some previous managers at the City Ground, but Cooper has embraced it and even has a picture of Clough in his office.
And he says the current crop of Forest players have to take inspiration from those that went before.
‘The history of the club is an inspiration for everybody, I think because that’s what makes us who we are.
‘We’ve done some decent things over the last 18 months but we’re so determined to try to keep that going.’
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