Nottingham Forest return to Championship action this weekend hoping to bounce back from their recent defeat at home to Leeds United.
Mark Warburton’s side made a fast start to the new season, just a few months on from narrowly avoiding relegation, with victories over Millwall and Brentford, although they were stopped in their tracks by Paul Heckingbottom’s Barnsley on August 15, going down 2-1 at Oakwell.
The Reds bounced back with an excellent 2-1 victory over Middlesbrough at the City Ground, and although they produced a fine effort to beat Newcastle United 3-2 in the Carabao Cup, they then went down 2-0 at home to Leeds just prior to the international break.
And Warburton and his squad will have had two weeks to dwell on that defeat to Thomas Christiansen’s side by the time they take on Sheffield Wednesday, which is why this weekend’s coming clash at Hillsborough will be a serious test of their resolve.
Forest were probably one of those sides not wanting the current international break to come along, as they did have a bit of momentum after a fast start, but also would have likely wanted to rectify their Leeds performance with another game soon after.
As it is, two weeks is a long time to be sitting on a defeat, and this is where Warburton and the coaching staff will really earn their money, as a response and performance, as well as a result, at Hillsborough on Saturday would be the clearest indication yet that this Forest team have got the mental steel to challenge in the Championship this season.
Sheffield Wednesday haven’t really got going this term but are unbeaten in their last four league games, victory would take them above Forest in the table at this early stage as well.
If you look at some of the best sides that have won promotion or challenged in recent seasons, very few of them suffer back-to-back league defeats on more than one occasion.
Forest have already shown their bouncebackability by beating Middlesbrough four days after losing against Barnsley, but this weekend is another test, as they are away from home against a side unbeaten since the opening day, and have had two weeks to wait to put behind the Leeds performance and result them .
Victory this weekend would send a clear statement of intent out to the rest of the division that Forest mean business in the Championship this season.