Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Brice Samba faces a defining moment in his Nottingham Forest career after doubts are cast over his credentials after being sent off in a moment of madness in the 2-2 draw against Stoke City.
In the 85th minute the Congolese goalkeeper lashed out at Stoke City defender Phil Jagielka. After the Englishman appeared to stop Samba making a quick throw to potentially counterattack the Potters, Samba pushed Jagielka in the head which led to referee Leigh Doughty brandishing the red card and pointing to the penalty spot which Lewis Baker converted.
Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper stated: “Brice made a mistake that nearly cost us” and that he had “no complaints about the red card”.
Audio: Forest Manager Steve Cooper talks about the Samba red card (Forest TV)
The latest mistake by Samba adds to the ever-growing pressure surrounding his Forest future with his distribution also being questioned. However, aside from temperament and distribution, Samba’ has been hailed as one of the top shot-stoppers in the Championship.
In a season where Forest are pushing for the play-offs to potentially get promoted to the Premier League, a three-match ban is the last thing Steve Cooper would have wanted and leaves American goalkeeper Ethan Horvath who has played three times this season, conceding seven goals, the main candidate to cover the goalkeeper position.
Forest supporters have stated his temper issues need to be resolved with this incident not being the first time that Samba has blown his top and if he is the cause of more dropped points, then Cooper may have to look at giving Horvath more games or dip into the transfer market this summer.
Audio: Forest legend Garry Birtles talks about Samba’s red card and the touchline’s reaction to the “moment of madness” (Garibaldi Red podcast)
Forest face three big games in their play-off push: AFC Bournemouth, Preston North End and Bristol City. Steve Cooper will be hoping Ethan Horvath can apply pressure on Samba and compete for a regular first team slot in the light of Samba’s red card.