Celtic have been handed a major boost amid James Forrest’s return to the training pitch to prepare for action once again his with his fellow Bhoys.
Hoops boss Neil Lennon confirmed that the 29-year-old is set to return to training this week, adding: “We’ve missed him because he’s a quality player. He’s proved that over the years, time and again, and been so successful. But he’s nearly there now and he’ll be welcomed back.”
And, speaking to Football Insider, Noel Whelan heaped praise on the player who has been out of action with an ankle injury for the past four months. The pundit believes that Odsonne Edouard will “thrive” off having the quality of Forrest back in the first team, and that it’s a “huge boost” for the side.
Should Neil Lennon be sacked?
Indeed, the Hoops have struggled this season in several areas on the pitch, but one main worry has been their lack of attacking threat. Edouard for example, looks a shadow of his 2019/20 self. According to Transfermarkt, the French maestro has managed to contribute 16 goals and four assists this season. Whilst this is still a highly impressive amount, it’s levels below his astonishing 28 goal, 19 assist campaign last time.
Integrating David Turnbull into the starting lineup has been a huge stroke of genius from Neil Lennon, who has been a real catalyst in Celtic’s engine room – he’s bagged six goals in his debut campaign with the club. But having Forrest back at his disposal will hugely improve the Hoops’ attacking prowess, given everything that he brings to the table.
Before his injury in September, the £5.4million-valued wide man notched two goals and one assist in seven appearances. Prior to this, 2019/20 saw him tally a stellar 10 goals and 17 assists in the league, as per Transfermarkt, with his overall count reaching 16 goals and 22 assists – magnificent for a midfielder.
And, as Whelan touched upon, Forrest’s return could do wonders for Edouard in particular. In the Frenchman’s Hoops career, he has combined with the winger for a whopping 23 goals between them – 13 more than the man next on the list, Callum McGregor.
Clearly, Edouard has a really strong understanding of Forrest’s game, and having his partner in crime back in action and in the fold should liven him up that little bit more.
You only have to look south of the border to see the troubles a broken up duo can have on a player, with Heung-min Son failing to pick up a single goal or assist in the two Premier League games that Harry Kane missed.
Edouard will relish the fact that Forrest is closing in on a first-team return, and the moment the winger passes his fitness checks, Lennon must throw him straight back into the side and give the Hoops a much-needed lift.