All three of our ‘elite’ sides are in action tonight as Nottingham Forest, Mansfield Town and Notts County all face tricky league ties in their respective divisions.
Nottingham Forest host Watford at home, the Hornets are fifth in the table and are having a solid return to the Championship after relegation from the Premier League in the summer.
The Reds are currently 21st and just two points above the relegation places but a win tonight could ease the fears of Manager Chris Hughton who has started to look over his shoulder a little worryingly.
Hughton said yesterday “I don’t think you can ever argue with the league table, but I am around a group of players that feel we should be doing better than we are doing in regards to results. It is only us as a group of staff and a group of players that can put that right.”
Jack Colback will miss the game but a number of the clubs injured stars have given the Manager a boost this week by returning to training. Joe Worrall, Tyler Blackett, Fouad Bachirou, Michael Dawson, Samba Sow and Lewis Grabban have all featured with one eye on a place on the bench at least for some.
Watford could be without Andre Gray who injured a hamstring in the 4-1 win over Preston on Saturday whilst Will Hughes and Adam Masina are recovering from long term injuries, Tom Cleverley could feature after returning back to full training.
The match at the City Ground is once again behind closed doors but you can watch the game on iFollow from 7:45pm at a cost of £10.
Nigel Clough’s Mansfield Town are also up against fifth placed opposition tonight in Cambridge United as the Stags travel to the Abbey Stadium currently second bottom of the Football League’s lowest tier.
The Stags form of late has been good with a memorable extra-time cup win on Sunday against Dagenham & Redbridge but last time out in the league a 0-1 defeat at home to Harrogate sent the Stags crashing down towards the relegation places, last night both Stevenage and Scunthorpe won which has resulted in Mansfield falling to 23rd in the table, something they’ll be hoping to rectify tonight.
Cambridge have drawn their last two league matches but Mark Bonner’s side are fighting in the pack for promotion with Clough expecting a tough encounter, stating “We’ve seen little bits of Cambridge and they’re obviously a major threat. We’ll have to defend very well to keep them out.”
The U’s will also have the added boost of up to 2,000 home supporters as England comes out of lockdown, the cities region in Tier 2 (as opposed to Nottinghamshire’s tier 3) allowing people in that area to attend elite football matches for the first time since March.
James Perch will be assessed whilst Stephen McLaughlin most probably will miss out. The last time the two sides met was on New Years Day when a Nicky Maynard hat-trick won the Stags a thrilling three points securing a 3-2 win.
The match kicks off at 7:45pm and is available on iFollow through the Stags official website.
Finally Notts County of the National League will be hoping Mansfield Town did the Magpies a favour on Sunday after beating tonight’s opponents Dagenham in extra-time.
Fatigue and tiredness after two hours of cup football could come in to play for the hosts in London as Notts, fresh from their 3-0 win over Wealdstone on Friday night hope to take full advantage.
Notts are back down to eleventh after last nights games elsewhere but are still just one point from the playoffs in what is looking a very competitive division.
The Daggers in eighteenth have struggled largely but like Notts have games in hand on most around them.
The game will be streamed on the Dagenham & Redbridge website but despite London being in Tier 2, no fans will be permitted to Victoria Road.
Notts are hoping to include new loan signing Tom Walker whilst Callum Roberts recovers from a hamstring injury, the Geordie winger certain to miss the trip.
*Main image @NFFC the City Ground tonight welcomes Vladimir Ivic’s Watford.