Ethan Horvath has looked like anything but a goalkeeper who has been starved of minutes in the English Football League Championship this season and now has a great opportunity to lead Nottingham Forest into the promotion playoff picture.
Horvath made his fourth-straight start on Monday night, making four saves as Steve Cooper’s side defeated Huddersfield Town and advanced into the FA Cup quarterfinals. A last eight showdown with English Premier League giants Liverpool awaits Horvath and his Nottingham Forest teammates later this month, but first the club will look to move up the league table over the coming weeks.
The 26-year-old Horvath has shined in Brice Samba’s absence over the past two weeks, posting a 2-0-2 record, 14 saves, and two clean sheets in all competitions this calendar year. Samba returned to eligibility on Monday after his three-match suspension, but was left on the bench as Horvath remained in goal against Huddersfield Town.
Cooper will now have a major decision to make coming into Saturday’s home showdown with Reading, but continued to praise Horvath’s impact in the squad over this important run of matches.
“He’s been excellent in the three games,” Cooper said Tuesday in a conference call with reporters, transcribed by the Nottingham Post. “He’s had to wait for his opportunity – similar to Sam [Surridge]. He’s a good professional and a good guy. I’m not sure what I would have said to him if I’d made the change. I couldn’t think of a good reason.
“We’ve got two good goalkeepers who are going to fight for that spot.” Cooper added about the competitiveness for the No. 1 job. “That’s what we want in every position. They are good problems to have, even though they are tough ones at times.”
Horvath waited over five months in between appearances for Nottingham Forest, but didn’t let that stop him from earning home wins over Huddersfield Town and Bristol City. He also made five saves in a 1-1 road draw fellow promotion chasers Sheffield United, keeping Nottingham Forest alive in the match before the visitors scored a late equalizer at Bramall Lane.
The Colorado native will now hope to remain in goal as Nottingham Forest hosts Reading and Queens Park Rangers in back-to-back home league matches before welcoming Jurgen Klopp’s Reds to the City Ground on March 20. Horvath’s stellar run of form for the club will not only have him confident to remain Nottingham Forest’s No. 1 goalkeeper, but also have him ready for a possible inclusion into the U.S. men’s national team’s final window of World Cup Qualifiers against Mexico, Panama, and Costa Rica.
“He’s been a great professional and he’s continued to play well for us during this tough part of the season,” Nottingham Forest centerback Steve Cook said about Horvath in a conference call with reporters. “You can see the confidence growing in him with each start and we’re lucky to have him here and playing at a high level after being on the bench for a long period.”