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Daryl Murphy, not surprisingly at all, has started life at Nottingham Forest in great style with 6 goals in just 11 Championship starts this campaign and has proven to be a real bargain buy for the club.
The Republic of Ireland international cost Forest just over £2m and is definitely worth every penny. The former Ipswich Town player did not receive a lot of game time at Newcastle United last season under Rafa Benitez given the strength of the title winners’ squad, but did an admirable job when called upon and was somewhat of a crowd favourite in the north east.
Hard working, good in the air and deceptively good on the ground too, Murphy is a proven goal scorer in this league and would most likely have a 15-goal haul should he be playing every week.
Given that he had Dwight Gayle and Aleksandar Mitrovic ahead of him in the St James’ Park pecking order last term, he did very well with the opportunities he was afforded and scored some crucial goals, such as his cute finish away at Huddersfield Town during a run of games seen as crucial in deciding where the title went.
This season, he has more than adequately replaced what Britt Assombalonga was giving Nottingham Forest up front, but weirdly enough, there is a downside in this fact for manager Mark Warburton. Should things not go to plan, and they aren’t right now for the former Rangers boss, factors such as selling the star striker are always used as a reasonable excuse when looking to placate the board or the fans.
Murphy’s fantastic contribution in place of Assombalonga though means that the overall position the club finds itself in is no appreciable improvement from last time around. On balance, Warburton is now not coming across terribly well to neutrals, given the way he exited both Brentford and Rangers, and is now not covering himself in glory in the east midlands.
A Derby defeat (pardon the pun) at the weekend has now added to his pressures and it leaves his revamped Forest side in 14th position with 15 points from 12 games and with away games at Hull, Reading, Birmingham and Ipswich to come.
Murphy though has been a real shining light for the club and it is crucial now that they keep feeding their unlikely prolific hit man. As things stand on the Trent, where there is Murphy there is hope.