Forest vs. Preston North End preview..

From a promotion showdown to a scrap with relegation battlers at the City Ground, the games are still coming thick and fast.  Both sides will have good reason to go into these games with a positive frame of mind, too – whilst Forest were beating Cardiff City at the City Ground on Saturday the Lillywhites played host to league leaders QPR and – despite going behind – equalised and earned a draw against Neil Warnock’s men.

Phil Brown will be able to call upon Leon Clarke who wasn’t available for their last game due to the loan agreement with QPR, but is likely to be without Chris Brown and Paul Coutts.  Iain Hume is a possible returnee, he was reported to be recovering well from injury prior to the QPR game but didn’t feature in it nor on the bench.  Of course, he might not opt for changes at all after the weekend’s good result.

Forest came through their game with Cardiff unscathed – despite some ‘robust’ challenges (not least the one on Lewis in the lead up to our second goal by Quinn, the dirty fecker!).  So our only injury concerns are the long term ones like Moussi, Blackstock and Findley – and the mysterious near-constant-flimsy-injury-excuses made for Kelvin Wilson.  Majewski of course serves the final game of his suspension.

That said, it’s reasonably unusual for Billy to not to tinker with his line-up – I wonder whether we might see starts for Tyson and/or McGoldrick.  Although I’ve long since given up trying to second-guess how he will decide to start a game these days, his combination of rotating and presumably keeping an eye on how our opponents might need nullifying are beyond my expertise!

It’s tempting to see this as a home win – we’re on our worryingly increasingly well publicised home run, Preston are – whilst improved under Brown – struggling.  They may have drawn a couple, but they lost three before that – and haven’t won a game since December, and that was against Ipswich, who were also on a bit of a hapless run then.

Do you see where I’m going with this – they’re on a ropey run, indeed, on their travels they’ve not won since September – beating Coventry then Leeds in quick succession in the league.  The latter was a goal-fest, finishing 6-4 to Preston, with now-Cardiff striker Jon Parkin netting a hat-trick.  So they are, frankly, a bit pants away – we’re really really good at home at the moment…

Anyone else smell bananas?

Certainly the pitch-factor that conspired to contribute to our downfall at Scunthorpe won’t be a problem on the morrow, the City Ground pitch continues to be a credit to our excellent ground staff.  Hopefully other lessons have been learned too from last week’s mid-week wobble to avoid any complacency at all.  Complacency isn’t a word I generally associate with Billy, so hopefully he gets that across to the boys.

With Cardiff entertaining in-form Leicester and QPR at home to a rejuvenated Ipswich Town there are a few tough games up there – I’d fancy Swansea to pick up points away at Coventry and certainly think that Norwich will be able to see off struggling Doncaster at home.  So three points in our game would be most welcome to see us remain in the automatic promotion spots.

I think we’ll have enough about us to do it too – with tickets cut to a tenner for this one it promises to be a bumper crowd – even the Main Stand side of the Lower Bridgford End has been made available to Forest fans, so as ever hopefully we can generate good backing for the boys (which will be trickier with the likelihood of a smaller away following unless the game kicks into life fast!).