Aitor Karanka`s Nottingham Forest welcome Jose Morais and his Barnsley side Trentside for the Easter Monday Championship clash.
Forest`s Manager, Aitor Karanka, gave his pre-match views at Sunday`s press conference:
“This game is a chance to respond, which is like what I said after the games against Preston and then Hull in the FA Cup. We can’t forget that we had been playing well before Millwall so we have to go out on the pitch, play the way we know we can and hopefully we can have a good reaction.
Against Barnsley, we need to create more and be more aggressive, because when we do the things that we know we can do, we can win. It is about believing in what we do, to keep going and to be aggressive.
We have done nothing yet, we need to build and keep going, because if we want to get promotion or to get into the play-offs you need to go on longer runs than seven games unbeaten.
The Millwall game was tough, but I don’t want to change a lot of things as the team had been doing well. Now we will have to play our best, because there are games where we score five goals and then we will have games like against Millwall or Sheffield United where we have chances but don’t score.’
Nottingham Forest Team News:
Chris Cohen, David Vaughan & Ashkan Dejagah remain sidelined by injury, with doubts still surrounding Keiran Dowell and Daryl Murphy.
Aitor Karanka made 4 changes against Millwall, but Matty Cash will be pushing for a start, most likely at the expense of Barrie McKay, whilst Jack Hobbs could retain to the match day squad, with players like Rafael Fuentes, Eric Lichaj and Liam Bridcutt also likely to be given a chance in the final games of the season.
Player to watch: Costel Pantillimon
The giant 31 year old Romanian international goalkeeper has kept 4 clean sheets in 10 appearances since joining Forest on loan from Watford.
Another today would be welcome as would the permanent signing of the experienced stopper.
Barnsley Team News:
Matt Mills could return to the match day squad to face his former club, but Mamadou Thiam is expected to miss out.
Kieffer Moore did get withdrawn due to cramp in the weekend draw at Oakwell, but he is expected to play.
Player to watch: Kieffer Moore
The powerful 25 year old striker joined Barnsley from Rotherham for £750,000 in January and has since scored 3 in 13 appearances, after 13 in 25 for the Millers.
With a physical battle likely, it could well be that Karanka opts to re-instate Joe Worrall to seek out another clean sheet.
Match Facts & Stats
The Tykes are 22nd in the table with 34 points from 39 games (w7, d13, l19) – scoring 39, with 58 conceded) and just 2 points behind Birmingham in 21st position.
Barnsley have just 1 win in 13 games and none in their last 6 but they have beaten Forest in the last 2 games, including a 0-1 win at the City Ground in January 2017.
Forest remain 16th in the Championship table, 12 points ahead of Barnsley who occupy the last relegation place. The Reds have 46 points from 39 games (w13, d7, l19), scoring 43 but conceding 56.
The defeat against Millwall ended Forest`s 7 game unbeaten run, but a run of 4 games without a win and without scoring a goal are cause for concern, as Karanka seeks to build for next season.
Robert Jones has been appointed as this afternoon`s Referee, which will be his 39th game in charge this season, the previous 38 have seen him award 108 yellows and 8 red cards. Last season he officiated 41 games, with a return of 122 yellows and 4 red cards.
Mr Jones will be assisted by James Wilson and Adam Matthews, with Darren Handley as Fourth Official.
The Bookies have Forest as favourites for a home win – but, with Barnsley needing the points to avoid relegation, this game is unlikely to be a high quality free flowing footballing encounter.
Although a win for Karanka`s men would pretty much end all relegation fears, Forest are renowned for shooting themselves in the foot, so let`s hope that we do see a positive reaction to the weekend defeat, that said 1-1 looks a fair bet.
Aitor Karanka returns to The Riverside as Forest face Tony Pulis`s Middlesbrough on Saturday, 7th April (KO 3pm).