Blackstock closing on return

Forest striker working his way back to full fitness

Dexter Blackstock: Has awoken from his injury nightmare and is closing on a first team return

Loading Market ...

Football Betting

Up To £30 Free Matched Bet

Following a year on the sidelines, Dexter Blackstock is closing on a welcome return to first team action at Nottingham Forest.

The 25-year-old striker damaged cruciate knee ligaments in November 2010 and has been absent from competitive action ever since.

A frustrating spell on the sidelines is about to come to an end, though, with the popular forward working his way back to full fitness.

He has already turned out for the Reds' reserves and is now setting his sights on earning a place in the thoughts of Steve Cotterill, a manager he is yet to play under following a period of managerial upheaval at the City Ground.

"I'm confident in the knee. I said I'd be back and I'd probably be stronger," said Blackstock.

"I'm confident in it, and I'm confident going into tackles, whether it be a training match, or for the reserves or the first team. That's not a problem. The only problem I have now is getting the minutes under my belt before I can go into first-team action.

"The manager's very experienced and he'll know when the time is right to bring me back into the fold."

Rules

Meanwhile, Cotterill has criticised the Football League's decision to reduce the number of permitted substitutes from seven to five for this season.

He feels the revised system will hold young players back, with clubs forced to send the stars of tomorrow out on loan in order to get the necessary experience.

Cotterill told the Nottingham Evening Post: "It is one of the worst rules ever, I cannot understand it. It has obviously been done for financial reasons.

"That is fine if it needs to be done lower down, in League One and Two. But I am not so sure it works in the Championship. Some clubs in the Championship are bigger than some in the Premier League.

"To have only five subs means that young players won't get on the bench when they might otherwise have had an opportunity. It lessens your flexibility.

"That is why the loan system is good. I am a big advocate of the loan system."