Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Big match for both teams

Nottingham Forest will be looking to take an easy three points off Charlton tonight as they seek to blot out the memory of the 5-0 loss to rivals Derby. Something has clearly gone wrong at Forest and the answer for owner Fawaz Al-Hasawi was Billy Davies. With no wins in eight games and two points from 18, talk of automatic promotion in January has given way to real concern that play off qualification will not be achieved. Although Forest are just outside of the Championship play off places at 7th, they are bottom of the six game form table (Charlton are 13th).

Injury problems have played their part in the slump in form, but the Football League Paper commented after the defeat at Derby, 'Forest are in desperate need of a midfield. Guy Moussi and Jonathan Greening had all the mobility of a rock with eyes, and were utterly overrun. Henri Lansbury cannot return soon enough. But there were more fundamental problems here. No fight, no spirit, no heart or confidence.'

Forest are still without a host of players for Gary Brazil's first – and possibly last – game as caretaker manager. One time popular Addick Andy Reid is two to three weeks away with a hamstring injury. Both Kelvin Wilson (back) and Henri Lansbury (ankle) are nearing a return having taken part in training of late. Jack Hobbs (ankle), Chris Cohen (knee), Eric Lichaj (hernia), David Vaughan (knee) and Dexter Blackstock (knee) are all definitely out. Lee Peltier on loan from Leeds is expected to feature in defence.

For Charlton, Callum Harriott remains doubtful after an ankle knock kept him out of the game against Burnley on Saturday.

One might think that Charlton might have a chance to get at least a point out of the game. The problem is strikers who cannot score - and who do not get decent service anyway given the lack of a decent wide player. One only had to look at the quality of the cross and the finish for Burnley's first goal on Saturday.

The record against Forest is a poor one. Nottingham Forest are unbeaten in the last seven meetings in all competitions, winning four. Charlton's last win was 3-0 at home in the old Division One in January 2000. The home side are unbeaten in the last four meetings at the City Ground in all competitions, winning two. Charlton's last win there was 1-0 in the Premier League in October 1998.

The odds reflect the reality of the situation: Forest 5/6; draw 5/2; Charlton 10/3.

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