Anyone who knows the Championship will know how easy it is to take one step forward and two steps back. Saturdays 1-0 win against Blackburn Rovers gave Nottingham Forest some much-needed breathing space on those below them. But this week, the Reds face those below them in the shape of Rotherham United tonight before the big East Midlands clash against Derby County on Friday.
It hasn’t always been easy on the eye under Hughton, in typical Forest fashion at the weekend the Reds dug in against a gutsy Rovers who had more possession, more attempts, more attacks, but significantly one less goal as Alex Mighten’s winner was enough, helped along the way by a Brice Samba penalty save of course.
A week ago, Forest played some of their best football of the campaign in losing at promotion pushing Swansea, getting the right blend of performance and points is still to be found, but this week, with matches on Tuesday and Friday, ask any Reds fan what they want and 100% will take the points no matter how badly the team play to get them.
Forest travel to Rotherham United tonight, the Millers in 22nd and in the relegation zone of the Championship on 29 points. The Reds on 36 in 17th could see a huge ten-point cushion should they win, should they lose, that current seven-point gap is down to four.
Not quite ‘must win’ but more ‘do not lose’ at the New York Stadium, Forest have infamously found this trip to South Yorkshire tricky and have never won at the current home of United, the last victory in 2002 at the old Millmoor Ground.
11 games and almost 19 years since Jack Lester and Marlon Harewood scored the goals to give Paul Hart’s men that 2-1 win, recent results have been equally as tight, a draw earlier this season at the City Ground, the Reds last trip beside the River Don in 2019 ending in 2-1 defeat.
Lewis Grabban is out and will not face his former club but Lyle Taylor is fit after picking up a slight knock at the weekend. Glenn Murray is likely to start up front having played just 74 minutes over the last two matches.
Samba Sow, Sammy Ameobi and Harry Arter are all likely to miss the trip, as will Scott McKenna still not fit, Figs and Worrall likely to defend the spine, the Reds likely to approach the game with one eye on Derby as Hughton shuffles things around in quest to minimise fatigue.
Should Forest fail to beat Rotherham, Friday night’s encounter with their rivals from across the A52 will mean that bit more than it already does, the Reds currently two places and two points above the Rams who also play tonight at home against Huddersfield (who are nineteenth) will hope to stay above their enemy a little longer yet, with a point to prove having dominated the match at Pride Park last season only to concede a stoppage time goal that ended the match all square, and evidently cost Forest a place in the playoffs.
A win tonight however will at least ease some pressure going into Friday’s live on Sky Sports clash, six points from six however and Hughton is GOD!
*Article provided by Daniel Peacock (Editor).
*Main image @NFFC Alex Mighten celebrates his winning goal against Blackburn.