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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Friday, April 27th 2018

Big Match Preview: Nottingham Forest away

The Robins travel to the City Ground as they continue to fight for a play-off spot.

There are six points up for grabs in their final two games, with their trip to face Nottingham Forest being the penultimate match of the season.

But City will need to rekindle the form they were in the last time they beat Forest; a 2-1 victory at Ashton Gate back in December.

As for Forest, they are also looking to end their season on a high, although neither the play-offs or relegation are mathematically possible.

FACTFILE

Formed:1865
Nickname: Reds, Forest, Tricky Trees
Website: www.nottinghamforest.co.uk
Twitter: @NFFC
Ground: City Ground
Capacity: 30,445

Honours:
First Division winners (Prem) – 1977/78
Second Division winners (Champ) – 1906/07, 1921/22, 1997/98
Third Division winners (L1)  – 1950/51
FA Cup winners – 1897/98, 1958/59
League Cup winners – 1977/78, 1978/79, 1988/89, 1989/90
European Cup (Champions League) – 1978/79, 1979/80).
UEFA Super Cup winner: 1979
Charity Shield winner: 1978

Last season:

Championship: 21st
FA Cup: 3rd round, lost to Wigan Athletic
EFL Cup:  3rd round, lost to Arsenal
Top scorer:  Britt Assombalonga - 14
Average attendance:  22,169

HOW DID THEY GET HERE?

Forest have essentially done it all in their 153-year history. They’ve won England’s highest division (although not since it was reformed as the Premier League), the Champions League, the FA Cup and the League Cup.

They even set an unbeaten record of 42 games across two seasons in the 1970s, until Arsenal surpassed this run by going 49 matches without defeat between May 2003 and October 2004.

They have spent four years in the Premier League since its inception in 1992, with a third-place finish their highest rank in 1995.

Since then they have flaunted in League One and the Championship without adding to their trophy cabinet in recent years.

They had been keeping pace with the play-off contenders earlier in the season but mixed form sees them poised for a mid-table finish, or somewhere slightly below with relegation avoided.

Aitor Karanka

MEET THE GAFFER - AITOR KARANKA

The three-time UEFA Champions League winner plied his trade in Spain as a defender, mostly at centre-back although occasionally as a left-back. His playing career started with Athletic Bilbao before a move to Real Madrid in the 1997/98 season, where he twice won the Spanish Super Cup - once during the 2000/01 double-winning campaign alongside the La Liga title.

But he hung up his boots aged 32, following a brief spell in the US, to work under José Mourinho at Real Madrid in 2010. He left the Spanish giants after Mourinho's departure three years later, taking charge at Middlesbrough in the Championship, where he guided the Smoggies to the Premier League in 2016.

Despite leading them to the last eight of the FA Cup, they were among the Premier League's strugglers and he was sacked in March of last year.

Karanka returned to management with Forest when he was appointed on January 8th.

Tomlin pictured during his City playing days

ONE TO WATCH - LEE TOMLIN

A player City know all about from his playing days in BS3, who is certainly a threat when at the top of his game.

He impressed during a loan spell away from Bournemouth and made his move to Ashton Gate permanent in 2016.

But it didn't quite work out the following year and he was granted a move to Cardiff City last summer. He was loaned out to Forest during the January transfer window and he inspired them to their 3-0 win over Barnsley on Tuesday night, with a goal and an assist against the relegation-threatened club.

Altogether, he's netted four times and laid on three assists in his 13 Forest appearances.

City celebrate after Pack's piledriver opens the scoring

MEMORABLE FIXTURE - BRISTOL CITY 2-1 NOTTINGHAM FOREST

Saturday, December 16th 2017

Goals
City: Marlon Pack 36, Joe Bryan 45+2.
Forest: Kieran Dowell 47

Attendance: 20,128

Marlon Pack's first goal of the campaign helped City on their way to a fourth-straight victory in the Sky Bet Championship, with a 2-1 home win against Nottingham Forest back in December.

The midfielder's 25-yard strike put City ahead before Joe Bryan, playing on the left-wing, smashed in the Robins' second goal of the day soon after.

Forest's Kieran Dowell halved the deficit with a stunning long-range strike of his own shortly after the second half got underway.

However, the visitors never really threatened a grandstand finish, leaving Lee Johnson's side to walk away with a maximum 12 points from their previous four outings.

CityFielding, Baker, Magnusson, Flint, Wright, Pack, Smith, Brownhill, Bryan, Paterson, Reid

Forest: Jordan Smith, Mancienne, Worrall, Mills, Lichaj, Bridcutt, Bouchalakis, Dowell, Walker, Carayol, Murphy. 

AND FINALLY...

Officials
Referee: Jeremy Simpson
Nick Hopton and Adrian Waters
Fourth Official: Ross Joyce

Betting (via SkyBet) - Odds correct at time of writing
Nottingham Forest 6/4
Draw 5/2
City 6/4

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