On February 18, 2023, Chris Wood wheeled away in celebration after scoring one of the easiest goals of his career. Said effort was recorded from approximately a yard out and required the experienced frontman to merely get a toe on the ball.
The finishing touch was not the most dramatic or spectacular but the build-up play had been and the simplest of strikes ended up being voted Nottingham Forest’s Goal of the Season for 2022-23. That is due to the fact that every player in a red shirt – and a goalkeeper donning a blue one – was involved at some point before Wood converted from close range.
It’s worth noting at this point that the effort in question came in a meeting with Manchester City – a side that would go on to complete a historic Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League treble a matter of weeks later.
Wood’s goal earned Forest a precious point in a 1-1 draw, with Steve Cooper’s side eventually dragging themselves across a survival line in the English top-flight. Their New Zealand international striker made one significant contribution to that cause, but will he make any more in 2023-24?
Forest are, following a serious freshening up of the playing staff at the City Ground, still a work in progress and may find the going tough again in the months that lie ahead. It remains to be seen whether a role is found for Wood in another bid to keep collective heads above water.
His presence on Trentside, if that is to remain ongoing, will attract attention from Wellington to Wollaton, with the enduring appeal of the Premier League ensuring that audiences are kept captivated in every corner of the planet.
Those in Wood’s homeland – as captain of their national team – will want to see him do well and can nail their colors to that particular mast when taking advantage of a Pinnacle bonus NZ that offers members access to an extensive selection of sports betting markets, odds and online games that help to complement the watching and reviewing of live action.
As it stands, Forest are priced at +250 to suffer relegation back to the Championship next term, but those odds will lengthen quickly if they are able to get off to a positive start and get early points on the board. Wood may be required to do his bit along the way, once an untimely knock has been shaken off and he comes back into contention.
There has been talk of Forest opening themselves up to offers, with a proven goalscorer potentially up for grabs, but his track record could yet prove beneficial to Cooper and Co. He has, after all, previously starred for the likes of Leeds, Burnley and Newcastle.
He made his way to Nottingham in January, with an initial loan deal put in place. Said agreement was quickly turned into a permanent transfer, with a £15 million ($19m) fee said to have changed hands. Wood made just seven appearances, totaling 376 minutes, before seeing his season cut short.
He may have scored a memorable goal against Premier League champions-in-waiting City, but he is currently costing Forest around £40,000 ($52k) per minute played, and that is not good business. A loan fee was also paid out when Wood made his way south from St James’ Park, leaving his current employers seriously out of pocket.
There is no doubting his potential to make more of a telling contribution at the City Ground, even in a system that does not always play to his strengths, but something needs to change in order for value to be found. Wood, and his legion of followers Down Under, cannot live on one prize-winning goal for much longer before persistence and patience runs out.