Stuart Pearce’s Nottingham Forest will be hoping to regain some form tomorrow night as they take on Mark Warburton’s Brentford in the Championship.
Forest lie 10th in the table, with Brentford two places below in 12th. The two sides are separated only by Forest’s superior goal difference, with both on 22 points.
Pearce will be glad to have striker Matty Fryatt and defender Kelvin Wilson available for selection again, though they have really struggled since losing the key trio of Chris Cohen, Andy Reid and Jack Hobbs to long-term injury in the Midlands derby in September.
Brentford are without defender Alan McCormack, who suffered a knee injury in a 3-1 defeat to Bolton Wanderers at the end of last month.
Forest started the season with four wins out of five, but have since gone on a run of form that has seen them win just once in ten matches, and lose three of their last four.
Brentford have been in the sort of form which would see them stay in the division but not challenge for a play-off place, with four wins and four losses in their last ten games. They are coming off the back of a surprise 2-1 win against high flying Derby County, giving them the momentum going into the game at the City Ground.
Pearce took the hot-seat at Nottingham Forest at the start of July and will have his managerial metal put to the test. Chairman Fawaz Al Hasawi is trigger happy when it comes to managers. Though he isn’t Cellino-tier, Pearce will no doubt be feeling the pressure to perform.
The form of key players like Britt Assombalonga and Michail Antonio has dropped off massively since the winless run started back in October. Assombalonga has one goal in eight appearances, and Pearce will need to get him fired up tonight or risk another toothless performance. Tom Ince will be hoping to improve on a quiet debut against Huddersfield as well.
In an interview with The Nottingham Post, Former Forest goalkeeper Peter Shilton has come to Pearce’s defence, though admits he needs to start winning sooner rather than later.
“You can’t afford to have too long a bad run. You might lose a couple of games but then you need to start picking up points again.”
Brentford have been doing what they need to do to stay in the division. Their home form is solid, with four wins out of eight and only one loss. Their away form hasn’t been good though, with only two wins from seven on the road, something which Forest will no doubt look to exploit. Brentford have also failed to win their last four encounters with The Reds.
With no obvious outlet for goals, Brentford will struggle to walk away from this one with a win (their top scorer, Andre Gray, only has three goals). However, given Forest’s appalling recent form, I can’t look beyond a draw for this game.