Nottingham Forest return to league action with a trip to Hillsborough this weekend, as the Reds prepare to take on Garry Monk’s Sheffield Wednesday in South Yorkshire.
Forest will be undoubtedly eager to hit the ground running and restart their season in a positive manner, with Sabri Lamouchi’s side looking to cement their place in the play-offs.
The Reds occupy fifth spot in the Championship table and sit five points clear of seventh, therefore it is essential that they get off to a good start with clashes against Bristol City, Preston and Fulham still to come.
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From a Wednesday perspective, Monk will be urging his players to finish the season off strongly, after seeing their hopes of a play-off finish diminish before the EFL campaign was brought to a halt.
The Owls won only one of their last 10 games before the season was postponed, including a 5-0 away defeat to Brentford last time out, so there is definitely room for improvement.
Here, we take a look at SIX things we expect to see, as Sheffield Wednesday take on Nottingham Forest this Saturday…
Having not played a competitive fixture for over three months now, expect these two teams to be a little rusty.
There will lapses of concentration, and a couple of sloppy passes and chances for each team because of that, which is to be expected after such a long break.
Forest out for revenge
After losing 4-0 to Wednesday in their previous fixture this season – their worst home defeat in over eight years – Forest will be out for revenge.
Of course, there are so many games in one season which makes it easy to forget previous results, but Forest players will be out for vengeance after being embarrassed by the Owls on their own turf in December.
Wednesday seeking major improvement
After embarking on such a dreadful run of form before the campaign was brought to a halt, Monk will be urging his players to get their season back underway with a win.
It’s essential that they end the season on a high, or there could even be a potential risk of dropping into a relegation battle.
The pressure is on Garry Monk, and he needs to make sure that his players are up for the fight.
Grabban to pounce?
In what is shaping up to be a tight, nervy affair at Hillsborough, Lewis Grabban’s prolific nature in front of goal could be vital for the Reds.
All season long, the 32-year-old has led the line expertly well for Forest and has been a nuisance for opposition defenders, so it will be interesting to see the battles between him and Julian Borner or Tom Lees.
He only needs one chance in and around the box, and that could punish the Owls.
Out of contract players out to impress
With so many players entering the final stages of their contracts, those players will be desperate to make an impact this weekend and beyond.
This weekend, those players need to show that they are right up to fitness and are willing to give everything to the cause in these final nine games.
The likes of Sammy Ameobi, Ben Watson and Michael Dawson are set to be out of contract in the Forest camp, as are Steven Fletcher and Morgan Fox in the Wednesday camp.
Potential away banker?
We have seen our first real taste of behind closed doors action over in Germany, with the away sides coming out on top way more often than the home sides.
There have been only 11 home wins from 55 Bundesliga fixtures since the resumption of the season, which could be a trend we see across the world as football begins to return.
Home advantage seems to be a thing of the past, so this one has potential to be an away banker, especially given how impressive Forest have been on the road this season.