Rather than spend time today working out all the minor details of today’s fixture list release, here’s a handy guide to all the key fixtures for Nottingham Forest this season, and where we think the good and bad runs of fixtures are going to be.
Forest will start off the season against last year’s playoff semi-finalist West Bromwich Albion, on 3rd August with a 5:30 pm kick off, although the team won’t be the same that lost to eventual winners Aston Villa. There will be a new man in the dugout in the form of Slaven Bilic and he’ll want to get off to a winning start in his first home match in charge.
One of the first names that all Forest fans look for on release day is Derby County, but they’ll have to wait some time before they can reacquaint themselves with their neighbours from down the A52, as that is scheduled to take place on the 3rd November at the City Ground. The return leg at Pride Park will take place on 4th April.
The Christmas period is always a special one, that is until we get that winter break forced upon us, and Forest face a trip north up the M1 to face Hull City on Boxing Day before getting back to back home games in the form of Wigan Athletic and Blackburn Rovers on the 29th December and New Year’s Day respectively.
The season ends for Martin O’Neill’s men with a home visit from Stoke City on May 2nd. And after a disappointing campaign last season, the Potters fans will be hoping to be a little bit higher up the table this year and could pose a threat if Forest find themselves needing points on the final day.
The hardest stretch?
Right out of the gate is where Nottingham Forest will struggle for me. They face two teams who made the playoff semi-finals last year in West Brom and Leeds United, then after a brief reprieve with always chaotic Birmingham City and newly promoted Charlton Athletic, they face recently relegated Fulham who will hope to maintain as much of their Premier League firepower as they can and will be a tough test for the reds. Three out of those five games are going to be tough, so they’ll need to pick up points in the other two otherwise they might never get going.
Where can they go on a run?
I personally think that the best chance for Martin O’Neill’s side to pick up a decent set of points will come over the Winter period. After they face recently relegated Huddersfield on the 21st December they go on a nice run of playing teams that finished lower than 11th in last season’s table. Hull City, Wigan Athletic, Blackburn Rovers, Reading, newly promoted Luton Town, Brentford and Birmingham City.
The full list of fixtures can be found here.