Chris Hughton heralded the return of last season’s 20-goal striker Lewis Grabban from injury after the substitute netted his first of the campaign to help Nottingham Forest to a vital 2-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday.
Yuri Ribeiro’s first goal for the club had put Forest ahead in the fourth minute, while Grabban made certain of victory in the 87th as he made his first appearance since October following a hip problem.
The two precise finishes left Owls boss Tony Pulis to notch up an eighth game without a win since taking on the job, but Hughton was a happy man.
“When you have the ability that Lewis has and the goals he can get, it is great to have him back – and not just out on the pitch. Even if he had not got the goal, it was just great to have him back in the dressing room,” said Hughton.
“He is a very well respected player in the squad and a big influence. Having him back is a big bonus for us.”
Pulis felt Grabban had been guilty of a “dangerous” challenge on Tom Lees, as he won the ball on the edge of the penalty area, before finding the bottom corner with his shot.
“The ball was there to be won, it did not look like a dangerous challenge to me. His foot was not particularly high, from the angle I saw it at, it was hard to see if there was any contact – but it certainly did not look like a dangerous challenge,” said Hughton.
“We will enjoy this for a couple of hours and the players will actually have a day off tomorrow. They have not had many of those, with the run we have been on. So we will enjoy this and then prepare for another tough game, at Millwall.
“Irrespective of where they are or the run they are on, similarly to ourselves, Wednesday have some good individual players and with the formation they play, they were always going to have a percentage of the ball. This was a good win for us.”
Pulis praised his Owls players for their effort and attitude.
“I can’t fault the players for their effort. I thought we did enough in the first half not to deserve to be a goal down,” he said.
“In the second half I thought Forest were better than us. We looked tired and the changes we made did not make an impression at all.
“But we did have a go. We just lacked that bit of something we needed to win games.
“The early goal was a blow, it was a bad goal as well. I am not sure what our defence was doing. Then their lad finishes really well. After that I thought we had more control of the game.
“Adam Reach had a chance when he got inside Cyrus Christie and he should have scored, really, towards the end of the first half. In the second we just looked tired and the changes we made did not make us better.
“I have been here a month now and the chairman asked me to come in and, after a month, to give them a full assessment of the club and everything else, so I will be doing that.”