Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper admits it is "hard to say" whether he will work with Cumbrian star Dean Henderson again.

The on-loan Manchester United goalkeeper has been ruled out for the rest of the campaign after having surgery on a troublesome thigh injury.

Cooper has showered the Whitehaven player with praise for his influence on and off the pitch at the City Ground.

But he was coy on whether Forest would seek to bring the 26-year-old back on a permanent deal.

"We have all enjoyed working with him," Cooper said.

"We like his personality, he is a good professional and has a fantastic mentality.

"In terms of whether we will work with him again, it’s hard to say.

"We are grateful for what he has given and what he will still give us.

"Our medical team is working with United’s over what they want our contribution to be towards his recovery. In terms of support, he will be with us until the end, which is what he would want."

Henderson, who suffered his injury in a game against Leicester City in January, had a positive first half of the season at Forest and earned an England squad recall.

His long-term future remains unclear with the Cumbrian the subject of transfer interest from a number of clubs.

He has been linked with the likes of Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur, and is likely to be reluctant to revert to being second-choice back at his parent club at Old Trafford.

Any big-month move would be of interest to Carlisle United through a sell-on clause in the deal which took Henderson from their academy to Man Utd in 2011.

Cooper, meanwhile, has highlighted Henderson's determination to remain part of things at Forest this season despite his injury.

"He had to see a consultant before we played Brentford, then he made his own way down to London on Friday, came to the team hotel and then travelled – in match tracksuit – to the game and was as loud as ever in the dressing room and was as disappointed as everyone else after the game, and he was back on the team coach," Cooper told NottinghamshireLive.

"He didn’t have to do that, but he wanted to do it.”