Steve Cooper hits out at Blackburn again over failed Lewis O’Brien loan move

Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper has again criticised Blackburn for their handling of Lewis O’Brien’s failed loan move on deadline day.

The Championship club this week lost their appeal against the EFL’s decision to refuse the loan move after they failed to upload the relevant documents in time.

O’Brien has subsequently been left in limbo as Forest did not register him in their 25-man Premier League squad, meaning he will have to look for a move abroad – possibly the MLS – if he is to play again this season.

Cooper, who criticised Rovers after the January transfer window shut, again did not hold back on his opinion about how Blackburn have handled things.

“Similar to what I said just after the transfer window, the lad has been completely let down and so have we,” the Welshman said.

“I personally or anyone from the sporting side has not heard a word from Blackburn, whether that is an explanation, an apology or what, I don’t know. I don’t think we would behave like that.

“It is complete mismanagement of a situation. We are annoyed at that and the common courtesy of not having a call or a text from anyone and I know some people on the football side at Blackburn as well.

“Let’s just say we wouldn’t treat a player or a club the way we or Lewis has been treated.

“Sometimes when you are on the other end of things like this you learn how not to treat people and that is where we are at. We won’t let Lewis down, others might, we won’t.”

Blackburn insisted they have been in contact with Forest.

In a statement released to the PA news agency, a Blackburn spokesperson said: “Throughout the appeal process, which was a complex legal matter, confidentiality between all parties was absolutely key, to ensure that sensitive information, which could prejudice the case, wasn’t leaked.

“The club was in constant communication with Nottingham Forest and the player’s representative throughout the entire process.”

Cooper is expecting more bad news from a governing body as he thinks Forest will lose their appeal against the Premier League’s decision not to allow them to add Steve Cook to their 25-man squad.

Cook was omitted after the January window but then Forest suffered defensive injuries and they tried to re-enter him on to their list, but the Premier League said no.

“It is still something that is a little bit inconclusive but it obviously doesn’t look great and is looking like it won’t happen truth be told,” Cooper said.

“I don’t know on the exact wording from the Premier League but certainly he is out of the 25-man squad at the moment. It’s frustrating but that is what it is.”

Forest still have injury issues ahead of Sunday’s crunch clash with Everton at the City Ground.

Renan Lodi is a doubt with a knock he has been carrying and he could join Serge Aurier (calf), Ryan Yates (illness), Taiwo Awoniyi (groin), Wily Boly, Scott McKenna, Cheikhou Kouyate, Moussa Niakhate (all hamstring), Omar Richards (leg) and Giulian Biancone (ACL) on the sidelines.

Dean Henderson is still missing with a thigh injury and is set for several more weeks out.

Cooper added: “Dean is still a few weeks away, he had a repeat scan earlier in the week. He is recovering, he is still on course for what the injury is but there is a show on the scan to show he is not quite ready to get back.

“He will be a few more weeks yet before he comes into the final stages of rehab and comes into training, which probably takes us to the international break. I don’t think we will see him in training before the international break.”