Ross McCormack’s troubled season has taken a fresh twist after it emerged he has not trained at Nottingham Forest for three weeks.
McCormack, Aston Villa’s £12 million striker, has been unavailable for Forest’s relegation battle due to “personal issues” and is unlikely to play again this season.
It is understood the Scotland international was struggling with an Achilles injury last month but he has not reported for treatment at either Forest or Villa, his parent club.
Forest have declined to comment or clarify the reasons behind his absence, but it is believed the issues are both personal and health related and serious enough for him to have been away from the club for nearly a month. Sources allege he was recently back in Glasgow, nearly 300 miles away from Forest’s City Ground.
Forest are paying a huge chunk of his £48,000-a-week wages, after agreeing to sign him on loan on deadline day, but he has not featured in Mark Warburton’s match-day squad since the 2-2 draw with Derby County on March 18.
McCormack’s absence is the latest incident in a difficult campaign for the 30-year-old, following his spectacular fallout with Villa manager Steve Bruce in January.
He failed to report for training after insisting the electric gates at his home were stuck, infuriating Bruce, who then exiled him from the first-team squad.
Bruce also said he would not pick him again until he apologised, shipping him out to Forest on loan hours before the transfer window closed.
Villa will move to sell the former Fulham striker in the summer but his problems come at a bad time for Forest, who are fighting to avoid relegation to League One.
His arrival was seen as a major coup for the Championship strugglers, as McCormack scored 23 goals for Fulham last season. But he has scored only once, in the 5-1 defeat at Norwich shortly before Warburton’s appointment.
Forest’s defeat at Cardiff on Easter Monday left them just one point above the bottom three, ahead of Saturday’s home game against Reading.