Aitor Karanka`s Nottingham Forest take on Nigel Adkin`s Hull City in this afternoons FA Cup 4th Round Clash.
Forest`s Manager, Aitor Karanka gave his pre-match views at Thursday`s Press Conference:
‘The FA Cup is an amazing competition, with good memories for me. It is really important, especially in our case when we aren’t doing as well in the league, for the fans, because there will be 4000 going on Saturday and it is good for them, they are really important and now they are starting to believe again. I love it. It is what I wanted when I came here, for the crowd to start believing in the team. In order to do something, we need to go together; as supporters, as a team and as a club and I think we are really strong.
If we go into the game thinking it will be easy because of where Hull are in the league, we would be wrong. We need to prepare for the game in the same way in order to get something. It is important to score goals, but I will always say that it is important to build a team and the foundations are in keeping clean sheets. When you don’t concede you are more confident on the pitch and then, with the players that we have in this squad, we work together on the pitch to get results.
We didn’t concede a goal at Wolves as we played as a team and when we do that, it is easier to keep a clean sheet, it is easier to win games and it is easier to score goals. This is the way we need to keep improving as it has just been one game.’
Hull City Team News:
Nigel Adkins has already confirmed that Goal keeper David Marshall will start, perhaps with striker Will Kean who continues his comeback from injury.
Kamil Grosicki and Andrei Mazuch will be assessed, whilst James Weir, Abel Hernandez and Moses Odubajo will miss out.
Player to watch: Jarrod Bowen
The 21 year old forward/winger has proven a revelation for the Tigers this season, as their leading scorer with 11 goals in 28 appearances, including a fine curling effort from outside the box against Forest at the KCOM.
Nottingham Forest Team News:
Daryl Murphy, Jack Hobbs and Chris Cohen remain absent with injury, whilst Liam Bridcutt starts the first of a 2 match suspension for collecting 10 bookings.
David Vaughan and Jamie Ward are both back in training, with Vaughan likely to replace Bridcutt – as Karanka may opt to field a similar side that which beat Wolves last weekend.
Player to watch: Kieran Dowell
The 20 year old midfielder is Forest`s leading scorer after bagging the first in last weekend`s 2-0 defeat of league leaders Wolves. The Everton loanee now has 10 in 32 appearances for Forest – including his first senior hat trick against Hull in October as the Reds recorded a 3-2 victory at The KCOM.
Match Facts & Stats
Hull will almost certainly be more concerned with Championship survival then FA Cup success, given that they sit precariously in 21st outside the relegation places on goal difference.
They have 25 points from 28 games, scoring 39 but conceding 45 and with a league record of W5, D10, L13 and just 1 win in their last 8 games.
The Reds sit 14th in the Championship (w11, d2, l15) and whilst they earned a creditable 0-2 win against Wolves, they have proven to be consistently inconsistent this season and defensively poor, with 43 conceded in the league already and 35 scored.
However, it`s FA Cup day and anything can happen, as Forest proved by beating Cup Holders Arsenal 4-2 in the 3rd Round. Hull secured a home tie after beating Blackburn away 0-1.
Stuart Attwell has been appointed as this afternoon`s Referee, which will be his 19th game in charge this season, the previous 18 have seen 60 yellow and 1 red cards. Last season officiated 27 games, with a return of 90 yellows and 8 red cards.
Mr Attwell will be assisted by Shaun Hudson and Geoffrey Russell, with Andy Haines as the Fourth Official.
Arguably, both sides will see the league as more of a priority and it`s always hard to gauge such Cup fixtures, which is shown by the Bookies offering very little difference for all 3 possible results, with Hull just about shading it as favourites for a home win.
The worst outcome for all is probably a draw, but that may well be the most likely result – so, I`ll hedge my bets on 1-1.
Forest welcome Preston to the City Ground on Tuesday, 30th January KO 7-45pm.