Aitor Karanka`s Nottingham Forest welcome Jaap Stam`s Reading Trentside for Tuesday`s Championship fixture.
Forest Manager, Aitor Karanka`s gave his pre-match views at Monday`s press conference:
‘I was really pleased after the Burton game, because we had drawn the game and kept a clean sheet, but I do understand the crowd thinking I am stupid for believing it was a good result. It was only a good result to draw, only because of the sending off. I know it is not a good result to draw against the bottom team in the table.
Reading will be another tough game against a team who play really good football, to keep the ball and retain possession. They will be rested because they have been in Spain and they have not played for 12 days. We played on Saturday with 10 men for more than an hour, which is another concern but that is not an excuse as we need to produce a positive performance for our fans.”
Nottingham Forest Team News:
Eric Lichaj commences the 1st game of his 3 match suspension for his reckless challenge against Burton, whilst Ashkan Dejagah faces 2 months on the sideline after surgery on a knee injury suffered in training.
Joe Worrall will also sit out the game with a knee injury, joining Jack Hobbs and Chris Cohen – with Aitor Karanka confirming that a sickness bug leaves doubts around Daryl Murphy, Apostolis Vellios and Michael Mancienne.
Player to watch: Ben Watson
The 32 year old midfielder joined Forest on a free transfer just 2 weeks ago, but has already been given the Captain`s armband by Aitor Karanka.
The reds have certainly lacked leadership this season, with their midfielder often overpowered and appointing the former Watford man as Captain on his debut this weekend, will hopefully provide the qualities needed.
Reading Team News:
Jaap Stam has no fresh injury concerns and with a 12 day break, Mo Barrow, Omar Richards and midfielder John Swift could all return to the matchday squad.
Loan signinmg Chris Martin is pushing for a starting place but Paul McShane, Tommy Elphick, Stephen Quinn, Callum Harriott and Jordan Obita are confirmed absentees.
Player to watch: Jon Dadi Bodvarsson
The 25 year old Icelandic International joined Reading from Wolves for an undisclosed fee in the summer and is currently top scorer for the Royals with 8 goals in 25 appearances.
Garath McCleary and Chris Gunter will also been keen to impress against their former employers.
Match Facts & Stats
The Royals occupy 18th position, with 32 points from 31 games (w8, d8, l15) with 34 goals for and 41 against. Like Forest, Jaap Stam`s men have just 1 win in their last 11 league games – so this is hardly likely to be a high quality encounter with both sides needing to avoid defeat.br>
Forest halted their run of defeats with the battling point at Burton and continue to occupy 17th in the Championship table, with 36 points from 32 games (w11, d3, l18), scoring 35 but conceding 50.
The home form needs addressing too, as they have lost their last 5 games at The City Ground without scoring with Forest yet to record a home win under Karanka`s tenure.
Stephen Martin has been appointed as Tuesday`s Referee, which will be his 31st game in charge this season, the previous 30 have seen him award 67 yellow and 2 red cards. Last season he officiated 35 games, yielding 78 yellows and 3 red cards.
Mr Martin will be assisted by Andrew Fox and David Avent, with Simon Hooper as the Fourth Official.
Former Forest midfielder and Sky Pundit, David Prutton describes this as a meeting of 2 ‘hopelessly out form sides` but believes Forest may finally sneak a home win (2-1).br>
The reverse fixture saw the Royals run out comfortable 3-1 winners, but the Bookies also have Forest as favourites for a home win – which is long overdue, although another draw (1-1) seems a fair bet.
Forest take a trip to Loftus Road to face Ian Holloway`s QPR on Saturday, 24th February KO 3-00 pm.