A tricky trip for sure – even though City have literally nothing to play for, the pressure is well and truly on the Reds. Leeds and Burnley sit beneath us merely on goal difference, Millwall lurking only a couple of points behind. Pressure. Not something that Forest have typically been adept at dealing with.
Whilst we can of course only take care of our own results, it will difficult not to have half an eye on how our rivals are getting on. Leeds travel to hopefully-fighting-for-their-lives Crystal Palace, Burnley host playing-for-nothing-Portsmouth whilst Millwall travel to fighting-for-survival Scunthorpe away. Hull bringing up the rear travel to QPR who could secure promotion.
The latest random training injury is to Nathan Tyson, it’s his hip this time. We do have Paul Konchesky available again following his suspension, so whether Billy opts to reintroduce him or stick with a back line we may have to rely on in the play-offs remains to be seen (Konch’s loan expires before the play-offs and can’t be extended). Longer term injuries remain with Blackstock, Wilson, Anderson and Lynch unavailable.
Our hosts will be without a key player, after Nicky Maynard picked up a straight red card in their last game against Sheffield United – effectively ending his season through suspension. Certainly this is good news for us, he’s a dangerous threat to goal, and in a game where not only our target must be to win, but to do so by trying to stretch our goal difference as much as we can, them missing a goal threat is a good thing!
Earlier in the season a Luke Chambers header was enough to separate us at City at the City Ground, but – I’ll tell you what – we haven’t half drawn a lot of games at Ashton Gate of late. Whilst it’s premature to say a draw wouldn’t really be good enough, it wouldn’t, would it? Then we must consider our recent form away from the City Ground. Oh dear.
Approach this game positively and take our opportunities ruthlessly and we should be able to register a win, but we’ve struggled to do either of those things lately. Whilst Bristol City might have nothing to play for, but pride isn’t to under-estimated and they’ll be eager enough to put a big spanner in our play-off hopes – so we need to tighten up at the back too after leaking two soft goals against Leicester.
I reckon we can get a win here, controversially given my usually gloomy outlook. However, I can also see Leeds getting a win at Palace, and Burnley getting a win against Portsmouth – so maybe I’m just extrapolating what needs to be true to keep our play-off spot. It’s going to be one of those stressful days, isn’t it?