Aitor Karanka`s Nottingham Forest take a trip to Loftus Road to face Ian Holloway`s QPR in Saturday`s Championship Game.
Forest Manager, Aitor Karanka`s gave his pre-match views at Thursday`s press conference:
‘In football, the pressure is to win but if we played like we did in the second half on Tuesday it will be easier to win games – because that second half team performance is what I want to see every day on the pitch. We were aggressive, we were confident when we had the ball and we were organised when we didn`t have it.
Against QPR, it is another tough game against an experienced team with an experienced manager at a difficult stadium to go and play in but it is about us. We need to keep playing with our organisation from the Burton game and how aggressive we were in the second half against Reading.
We couldn`t score that second goal on Tuesday but we had lots of chances. With the players we have and the players who are ready for the games and their quality, I am sure we will score goals. I always knew we needed time with the new signings, and with two or three weeks of training together and playing together you can feel they are becoming a real team.”
Queens Park Rangers Team News:
Jack Robinson faces a fitness test to determine his involvement whilst Paul Smyth is expected to feature.
Idrissa Sylla and Grant Hall are edging closer to fitness, but former Red, Jamie Mackie and David Wheeler remain long-term absentees.
Player to watch: Matt Smith
The powerful 28 year old striker certainly represents an aerial threat to a Forest defence that concedes one of the highest percentages of goals from set pieces in the Championship.
Smith is currently top scorer for the Hoops with 7 in 32 apprearances – so, you would imagine Aitor sees him as a marked man!
Nottingham Forest Team News:
Eric Lichaj serves the 2nd match of his suspension, with Chris Cohen, Jack Hobbs & Ashkan Dejagah all long term injury victims.
Joe Worrall is back in training, as are Michael Mancienne & Apostolis Vellios but Daryl Murphy is still suffering from a virus.
Matty Cash and Liam Bridcutt are both pushing for a starting place as well as the new Spanish left back, Juan Fuentes – with Karanka hinting that there could be a couple of changes for the expected physical encounter at Loftus Road.
Player to watch: Costel Pantilimon
The giant Romanian international goalkeeper joined Forest on loan (from Watford) on deadline day and has certainly added experience, but he will be disappointed with just the 1 clean sheet in 4 appearances.
With QPR likely to launch an aerial onslaught against Forest`s fragile defence – the goal keeper will be crucial to Forest`s chances of securing anything from the game.
Match Facts & Stats
QPR occupy 15th position, with 39 points from 33games (w10, d9, l14) with 36 goals for and 46 against.
Ian Holloway`s men are the epitome of a mid table side, with an alternating win one, lose one record in their last 8 games – but their home form is good with 8 home wins so far.
Forest halted their run of home defeats with a second consecutive league draw in midweek, where they also finally managed to score, coming from a goal down to share the points with Reading.
The Reds continue to occupy 17th in the Championship table, with 37 points from 33 games (w11, d4, l18), scoring 36 but conceding 51 – however, a run of just 1 win in 12 games, leaves Karanka`s men in danger of getting dragged into a relegation dogfight if this isn`t turned around.
Darren Bond has been appointed as Referee, which will be his 33rd game in charge this season, the previous 32 have him show 113 yellow and 5 red cards. Last season he officiated 40 games, with a return of 117 yellows and 6 red cards.
Mr Bond will be assisted by Jonathan Hunt and Ian Cooper, with Graham Horwood as Fourth Official.
The Bookies have QPR as favourites for a home win, following consecutive home wins and factoring in Forest`s recent winless run of games.
With back to back draws, Forest have managed to show a greater degree of resilience and a similar point on their travels would represent a good return, so, I`ll hope for another 1-1.
Forest welcome former Manager, Steve Cotterill and his Birmingham City side Trentside for the next game on Saturday, 3rd March KO 3-00 pm.