Date: 18th February 2010 at 5:53pm
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Forest will be looking to continue their excellent home form this weekend with the visit of Middlesbrough. The home team have narrowed the gap on the automatic promotion places to just 2 points with their mid week win over the blades but Boro also have plenty still to play for & sit just 3 points outside the play off places despite their midweek defeat to Blackpool. This could be an entertaining game with Forest begin the leagues highest scorers at home [34] & Boro begin one the highest goal scorers away from home [28] so a thrilling 3 -2 or 4 -3 isn’t out of the question.

Vital Quotes:

Will this game be a twist, or a turn

Nottinghan Forest Team News:

There are once again no new injury problems ahead of this game, peripheral figures Bennett, Lynch & Moloney are all still out but the squad that has seen us through most of this season again came through the last match unscathed. The starting 11 in the last game was what most Forest fans seem to think is the best available to us, time will tell though if Billy Davies will stick with that same 11 or tinker with the starting line up to keep the players as fresh as possible with just 14 league games remaining.

Player to watch: Dexter Blackstock

The race is on to end the season as Forest’s top league goal scorer with Robbie Earnshaw 1 goal ahead of Dex with just under a third of the season to go, Blackstock has though added 4 assists to his name to go along with his 10 league goals, Earnie has 11 league goals but no assists.

Middlesbrough Team News:

Tony McMahon is out with a stress fracture, Rhys Williams & Chris Riggott are both back in training a pelvic problem & hamstring injury respectively but probably won’t be considered for this game, Chris Killen is rated as 50/50 after a virus & hamstring strain but both Seb Hines (medial knee ligament) & Matthew Bates (anterior cruciate ligament) are both ruled out for the season.

Player to watch: Gary O’Neil

The midfielder is at the centre of everything good about Middlesbrough and has contributed 4 goals & 5 assists from his 26 games so far this season.

Match Facts & Stats

There have been 61 league meetings between these two teams in the past, it’s been very close with Boro taking 17 wins, Forest 18 and a further 27 games drawn. It’s even closer on the goal scoring front with this fixture producing 174 goals in all previous league games split evenly between the two with 87 goals each.

Forest are in fine form at home with 8 consecutive wins & 11 wins from the last 12 home games (drawing the other), scoring 29 goals in those 12 games & conceding just 5.

Boro have their own interesting stat though having lost just once this season when scoring in the first half. Of the 17 games this season when they have scored in the 1st half they have gone on to win 12 of those & drawn 4, scoring 40 goals & conceding just 14. Oddly enough, Forest have also only lost once this season when scoring in the first half but this is less surprising as all but one of their defeats this season have come by one goal to nil, They’ve done it 15 times this season but as well as only losing one, they’ve also only drawn one, winning the other 13 games. In the 15 games when Forest have scored 1st half goals, they have scored 36 and conceded just 12. Looks like whoever scored 1st gets a result here.

Ref Watch:

Phil Crossley of Kent will take charge of this game, he last took control of a Forest game on the 1st day of the season when he sent off Luke Chambers in the goalless draw with Reading.

He will be assisted by Mike Blackledge of Cambridgeshire and Andrew Scregg of Merseyside

Fourth Official Graham Laws of Tyne & Wear

Match Prediction:

Forest’s home form is fantastic over the last few months but Boro will be a stern test for them, this game really could go either way but hopefully the 11 wins from 12 home games for Forest will give them the confidence to claim another victory, I’m going for a humdinger of a game and a 3 – 1 home win.

Next Fixtures:

Saturday, 27 February 15:00
The Football League Championship
Leicester v Nottm Forest