Mark Warburton’s Nottingham Forest welcome Phil Parkinson`s Bolton Wanderers Trentside for this afternoon`s Championship clash – the last at hoe before Christmas.
Forest Boss, Mark Warburton, gave his pre-match views on this weekend`s opponents at the pre-match press conference:
‘Bolton had a good result in their last game, winning against Barnsley and they are in a good run. They will come here like any other club; well prepared and it will be a tough encounter.
br>They have physicality, with the likes of Beavers, Wheater, Ameobi and Madine , but these are players who can play as well.
They had a tough start to the season but have come back strongly in recent weeks. We know it will be a tough, physical encounter and we will have to defend intelligently and with a passion but do what we do well as well.’
Nottingham Forest Team News:
Tendayi Darikwa, Jack Hobbs, Danny Fox and Chris Cohen all remain absent due to injury.
Barry McKay, Matt Mills and Mustapha Carayol are all pushing for a place in the starting 11, with changes likely after successive defeats, whilst Zach Clough would love to be involved against his former club, but a first start since September seems unlikely.
Player to watch: Mustapha Carayol
The 29 year old Gambian International joined Forest as a free agent in August 2016 and could well be one of those players looking to move on from the City Ground.
Muzzy has largely been used as an impact substitute, with 2 goals in just 11 appearances this season but his recent appearances have seen an upturn in Forest`s momentum on the pitch, despite results.
If Mark Warburton likes his stats, then he`ll be aware that Muzzy has been involved in four goals in his last four league games against Bolton (three goals, one assist) and he has scored more league goals against Bolton than any other opponent (3).
Bolton Wanderers Team News:
Andrew Taylor and Jem Karacan are the only players to miss out due to injury, whilst David Wheater is expected to return at centre half after serving a 1 match ban. Aaron Wilbraham could also feature after recovering from a calf injury than has seen him make just 1 appearance since September.
Player to watch: Gary Madine
The powerful 27 year old striker is now in his 3rd season with the Trotters after joining on a free transfer from Sheffield Wednesday.
Madine has featured in every league game this season and has already scored 6 (league goals) in 20 appearances, his best return since arriving at the Macron Stadium.
Match Facts & Stats
Forest have dropped down to 13th in the table after losing their last 2 games, against Cardiff and Ipswich. Warburton`s Reds have accumulated 27 points from 20 games (w9, d0, l11), scoring 28 but conceding a disappointing 33.
Bolton`s recent form, with just 1 defeat (away at Wolves) in their last 9 games has lifted them 21st in the table, with 16 points from 20 games (w3, d7, l10) scoring 19 but conceding 37.
Darren England has been appointed as this afternoon`s Referee, his 19th game in charge this season, the previous 18 games have produced 72 yellows and 2 red card. Last season officiated 42 games, with a return of 121 yellows and 9 red cards.
Mr England will be assisted by Mark Pottage and Robert Merchant, with Kevin Johnson as Fourth Official.
The Bookies have Forest as odds on favourites for a home win, but Bolton`s recent form is better than that of their hosts!
Forest do not seem to do well against a physical side that seeks to frustrate, so Parkinson`s men will no doubt seek to stifle and adopt a direct style to expose Forest`s soft underbelly. My heart would love a home win, a bore draw is unlikely given the defensive records of both, but I really do think today could see the first draw for Warburton`s men this season.
Next up, Forest face a tough looking away trip to Ashton Gate to face Bristol City on Saturday, 16th December, KO 3-00pm.