Aitor Karanka travels to Wigan tomorrow hoping to become the first Nottingham Forest manager to win in the town.
Newly promoted Wigan look a stern test for anyone facing them this season and the Spaniard will know that he must pick the best available team to secure three points.
Karanka has opted for right-back Tendayi Darikwa so far in the Championship this season, but with the loan arrival of Sam Byram (rated £3.6m on Transfermarkt.co.uk) from West Ham last week, it’s time the former Hammer starts.
Byram shone in Forest’s League Cup win over Bury at The City Ground on Tuesday, which was likely to be a warm up game before the right-back becomes a mainstay in The Reds’ defence this season.
The 24-year-old burst onto the scene at the London Stadium under Slaven Bilić, but struggled for starts last season under David Moyes. The defender will hope this move will rekindle his career, and that can start this Saturday.
Byram’s willingness to attack will play into the hands of a Forest team that have, at times this season, struggled to provide striker Lewis Grabban with opportunities. The inclusion of such a positive right-back may unlock opposition defences and trigger the goalscoring form that Karanka will want, after his side have failed to score two goals in a match so far this season.
It was right not to play Byram in Forest’s league win over Reading last week, as the new signing had barely been at the club for a week. But now he will have acclimatised, it’s time that Karanka picks his new option.
Forest currently sit in fifth place in the Championship table, and Karanka will hope the inclusion of Byram will secure his side’s grip at the top end of the table.