By Danny Wright

17th May, 2017 | 3:48pm

'Lay off him' - Garry Birtles warns Nottingham Forest fans that key man could leave

By Danny Wright

Garry Birtles has warned Nottingham Forest fans to stop being so hard on Ben Osborn as it could force him to leave the club.

The 22-year-old has been a key man in the Reds’ squad this season, featuring in almost all their matches, but has been criticised by supporters for what they perceive as underwhelming performances.

Osborn is currently undergoing treatment for a shoulder injury which could see him miss the start of next season.

He was absent for just one match in all competitions in the campaign that has recently ended, playing 49 times all together, scoring four goals and supplying seven assists.

Birtles, a part of Brian Clough’s legendary European Cup winning squad, wants to see the Forest fans show more respect to the versatile midfielder when he recovers from surgery.

Get Exclusive transfers news at Football Insider's YouTube TV channel

“One thing I don’t understand is why he seems to get so much stick from fans. It must get to him a bit,” said Birtles on the Nottingham Post website.

“He’s a trier. He always tries to do the right thing. He might end up doing the wrong thing as a result, but I’d rather that than someone who just didn’t bother. And he will get better at that with experience.

“He’s still a young lad after all.

“People should lay off him. You don’t want to lose young players like that and see them prosper somewhere else.”

Osborn has spent his entire career at the City Ground making 135 appearances in total for the Reds.

He was ever-present in what was a very disappointing campaign for the East Midlands outfit though, and many times fans urged their various managers to drop him from the team.

However the former England Under-20 player started all but one of the Championship fixtures, with his only appearance off the bench coming in the loss to Norwich in September.

In other Nottingham Forest news, Mark Warburton has revealed how the club’s impending takeover will impact his summer transfer dealings.

We’ve launched a << BREAKING NEWS FEED>> exclusively for your club. ‘Like Us’ on Facebook by clicking here if you want 24/7 updates on all Nottingham Forest breaking news.