Chris Hughton has urged his Nottingham Forest players not to let complacency creep into their game as they prepare for their final five games of the season.
Forest are not yet mathematically safe from relegation, despite Hughton’s men occupying 15th spot in the Sky Bet Championship table and holding a 10-point gap between themselves and Rotherham United in 22nd.
The Millers, though, kept their survival hopes alive with a 3-1 home win over Queens Park Rangers in midweek, and still have two or three games in hand on some of the teams above them. A win over Coventry City in 21st this evening would see them climb out of the relegation zone, and in turn, drag the likes of Derby County and Huddersfield Town into further danger.
Three of Forest’s final five games will come against teams who currently sit below them in the Championship table, with a home fixture against Huddersfield Town on the horizon this weekend. The Terriers sit 19th in the league standings and sit only five points clear of the drop having gone winless in their last five games.
Hughton – whose side are unbeaten in four league games heading into Saturday’s clash – has warned his players not to rest on their laurels and let complacency creep into their game ahead of the final run-in.
Assessing the relegation battle, the 62-year-old told FLW: “It’s competitive. It’s very competitive. Everybody is fighting.
“I think we also saw that with Wycombe’s result against Rotherham last week, and that’s not the result of a team who have stopped fighting.
“It’s a big game tonight between Rotherham and Coventry, and it’s very, very competitive, which is why we cannot afford to start thinking our season is more or less over.
“All of the teams around us and below us are capable of picking up points. We’re playing Huddersfield and Birmingham in our next two games, and they will be desperate for points.
“We have to continue fighting and try and get as many points as we can, because it’s very, very competitive.”
You’d assume that Forest are safe, but it isn’t over until the fat lady sings.
Rotherham are refusing to throw in the towel and will be buoyed on following a massive home win in midweek, and the likes of Derby and Huddersfield will be sweating.
In my opinion, there are too many teams between Forest and the relegation zone for there to be a catastrophe, but they cannot afford to take their foot off the gas after some impressive performances of late.