Mark Warburton’s Nottingham Forest welcome Neil Warnock`s Cardiff City Trentside for the Sunday Lunchtime Championship fixture.
Mark Warburton, gave his pre-match thoughts at this week`s press conference:
“Cardiff are flying high, they won away at Barnsley which is a tough place to go to so we know what we face. It`s good to get home points and to have such a string home record, but Cardiff represents another challenge.
We`ve had some pleasing performances defensively as a team, after a lot of criticism about set pieces earlier in the season, but the players responded really well and have defended the goal with a real passion.
Sunday will pose us a strong physical test and there will be no shortage of quality from them. Everyone talks about their physicality but they have some outstanding players and we are looking forward to what will be a good, quality encounter. At the end of the day, it is about the result but you want to do it in the right way. You want to build and for the players to keep learning. We are delighted with the quality that they are showing, their desire and the strength in depth.’
Nottingham Forest Team News:
Jack Hobbs, Danny Fox (expected to return in December), and Chris Cohen (back in training but 3-4 weeks away) all remain sidelined by injury. Michael Mancienne`s fitness will need to be assessed, but Tendayi Darikwa will face a few weeks on the sidelines after limping in midweek, whilst Liam Bridcutt also misses out after collecting his 5th booking against Norwich.
Armand Traore is expected to return to the starting line up at left back, allowing Lichaj to return to right back, but can David Vaughan manage 2 games in a week – Bouchalakis could be given a rare start in midweek?
With a minimum of 2 channges likely, Jamie Ward, Muzzy Carayol, Matty Cash, Tyler Walker & Jason Cummings will all be hoping to be involved.
Player to watch: Mustapha Carayol
The 29 year Gambian international winger, who joined Forest in August 2016 as a free agent, has started just 1 game for the Reds this season (with 8 appearances from the bench), but he can rightly point to changing the game when he came on as a sub in midweek.
His direct running and cross gave Daryl Murphy the chance to prod home the 2nd half winner but Carayol is unlikely to be happy with the super sub tag. The midweek assist and a return of 2 goals from those 9 appearances, may well have done enough to earn Muzzy a starting place OR could that impact substitute role be something that Mark Warburton prefers?
Cardiff City Team News:
Omar Bogle is banned for the weekend game and joins fellow striker, Kenneth Zohore, who misses out due to injury, as well as long-term absentees Jazz Richards and Kadeem Harris.
Nathaniel Mendez-Laing could return after missing two matches.
Player to watch: Junior Hoilett
David Wayne ‘Junior` Hoilett joined Cardiff as a free agent (one of several such signings following Neil Warnock`s appointment), from QPR, in October 2016.
The 27 year old Canadian International has scored 4 in 19 appearances for the Bluebirds, which leaves him level with Joe Ralls and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing as top league goal scorers.
Match Facts & Stats
Forest produced a dogged performance against Norwich to record their 4th consecutive home win and the 3rd without conceding a goal. The reds are currently 8th in the Championship Table to 11th with 27 points from 18 games (w9, d0, l9).
Forest have won 4 and lost 2 of their last 6 games, so far they have scored 26 and conceded 27 and certainly face tough workout against Warnock`s men.
The Bluebirds are 2nd in the table, with 37 points from 18 games (w11, d4, l3) scoring 25 but conceding just 13 – which includes 7 clean sheets.
Cardiff have just 1 defeat in their last 6 games, winning their last 2 without conceding, against Brentford & Barnsley.
Peter Bankes gets the gig in front of the Sky TV camera`s – his 19th game in charge this season, the previous 18 games have produced 62 yellows and 4 red cards. Last season he oversaw 38 games, awarding 127 yellows and 12 red cards.
Mr Bankes will be assisted by Timothy Wood and Mark Russell, with Robert Jones as Fourth Official.
The omens do not favour Forest; it`s on Sky TV, it`s a ‘kids for a quid` fixture and Cardiff have won on their last 3 visits to the City Ground. Throw in Neil Warnock, who has managed Cardiff to consecutive victories against Forest since taking over the Bluebirds and you start to hope for a draw.
The Bookies have Cardiff as ‘marginal` favourites, which seems fair, but will Sunday see Forest draw their first game of the season (1-1)?
Forest take on Mick McCarthy`s Ipswich Town at Portman Road on Saturday, 2nd December, 3-00pm.