Guide to FM Abbreviations and Roles: Forward Edition

harry kane when playing for tottenham celebrating goal

Today, we complete our series on FM abbreviations and roles. Having worked our way up the pitch, our last focus is on the forward roles in the game and the abbreviations for the roles.

So, without further ado, here they are:

DLF (Deep Lying Forward can be used on support or attack duties)

harry kane fm23 profile

The Deep-Lying forward’s main job in the team is to come deep and be a link man between the midfield and attack. He aims to drop into spaces and hold the ball up before laying it off to teammates, moving the ball back to midfield support, spreading it out wide to the flanks and also laying the ball off to a strike partner if given the time and space to do so.

On attack duty, the DLF will look to create chances for himself while also looking for others with a pass.


It could be argued that the ultimate DFL in FM and world football is Bayern Munich and England forward Harry Kane. He fulfils the role perfectly. However, the likes of Tammy Abraham, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Kai Havertz and Cody Gakpo all fit the bill to play the role.

AF (Advanced Forward can only be used on attack duty)

erling haalnad fm23 profile

The AF’s main role in the team is to be the focal point of the attack and, as stated in his title, be the most advanced attacking player. He is not only expected to score goals but also to create them for teammates. He is also expected to press opposition teams for the ball while chasing misplaced passes or clearances from deep.


The dream advanced forward is Manchester City superstar Erling Haaland, who really has the attributes to play most of the forward roles. However, arguably, the Advanced Forward role is how he is best utilised. Alternatives to Haaland in the position are the likes of Gonzalo Ramos and, later in the game, Endrick, Vitor Roque or Youssoufa Moukoko.

TF (Target Forward can be used on support or attack duties)

evan fergusson fm23 profile

A Target Forward is a new name for an old-fashioned target man. They will be the sort of forward who uses their physicality to get the better of defences and, in turn, open up space for their strike partner or midfielders. They may use their strength and aerial presence to bring their teammates into play rather than their technical ability.


A player I have used in this role in FM23 has been Brighton starlet Evan Ferguson, who epitomises all the attributes needed for a Target Forward.  However, Gianluca Scamacca, Maximiliano Gomez and Jonas Wind are also alternatives to the Brighton forward.

P (Poacher can only be used on attack duty)

lautaro martinez fm23 profile

The Poacher’s role is to sit on the shoulder of the last defender, latch on to through balls and get on the end of crosses. They are unlikely to be as involved in build-up play as some of the other forward roles. Their primary aim is to get the ball into the back of the net, and he may very rarely leave the confines of the opposition penalty box.


One of the players best suited to this role is Inter and Argentina star Lautaro Martinez. He is capable of playing a part in the build-up but is best suited to being in the penalty box, mainly due to his finishing ability. Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah has also been brilliant in this role in my past FM23 games.

CF (Complete Forward can be used on support and attack duty)

benjamin sesko fm23 profile

The Complete Forward is exactly what it says on the tin, they have the technical attributes of a Deep-Lying Forward, the goal-scoring ability of a Poacher and the strength of a Target Forward.

The Complete Forward can fashion chances on his own and create opportunities for his teammates. He is the sort of player who is allowed to do their own thing and transcends any tactical instructions.


Two of the players already talked about, Harry Kane and Erling Haaland, fit this role perfectly, but as previously mentioned, they have the ability to play any forward role. One player that I like using in this role is RB Leipzig Benjamin Sesko, as the Austrian star has excelled in the role for me.

PF (Pressing Forward is the only forward role in which you can use defend, support and attack duties)

victor osimhen fm23 profile

The Pressing Forward’s main role in the team is to press the opposition defenders and apply pressure to win the ball back deep into their opponent’s half. The point at which they press is dependent on the team’s overall Line of Engagement in the tactical instructions.

On support duty, the Pressing Forward will take more risks when bringing their teammates into the game.


Many players fit the bill when it comes to the role of Pressing Forward. However, the two forwards that instantly spring to mind for this role are Napoli’s Victor Osimhen and Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus. Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez is another player suited to the role.

T (Trequartista can only be used on attack duty)

lionel messi fm23 profile

The Trequartista can operate in an attacking midfielder role or a forward position within your team.

He operates in a similar fashion to an Advanced Playmaker, as he looks to drop into space between the defence and midfield of the opposition. However, they tend to do less defensive work and are allowed more freedom to wander when the team is out of possession of the ball. They can be a luxury player but may also be a key player in a team’s attacking play.


Undoubtedly, the great Lionel Messi is the best player in FM23 and the world to play in this role. The veteran Argentinian has the perfect attributes to pull off the role perfectly. Alternatives for this role would be Neymar, Phil Foden and, later in the game, Swedish wonderkid Roony Bardghji.

F9 (False Nine can only be used on support duty)

kai havertz fm23 profile

The False Nine role has become popular in the modern game. The FM role description states, ‘The False Nine is, in some ways, similar to a more advanced attacking midfielder/playmaker role. Is an unconventional lone striker or centre forward who drops deep into midfield’

The purpose of the F9 dropping deep is to create space for their teammates, as the opposition defenders are unsure of whether to follow them or allow them space from where they can create opportunities for teammates.


The F9 is more often an attacking midfielder than a forward. Two players that have flourished in the role in my personal saves have been German pair Kai Havertz and Florian Wirtz. Barcelona’s new boy, Joao Felix, could also thrive in this role.

Which of the above forward roles do you prefer in your FM23 saves?