Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper has urged his side to show belief, character and resilience ahead of tomorrow evening’s tie at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium against Queens Park Rangers, as he spoke to the Reds’ media team.
After such a strong start to his career in the East Midlands, going unbeaten in his opening five Championship games and conceding four in the process, their 4-0 home defeat against Fulham on Sunday afternoon was something of a surprise despite the Cottagers’ attacking firepower.
However, a brace from Aleksandar Mitrovic and Neeskens Kebano’s 61st-minute strike blew Cooper’s men away in the second half and they will be desperate to make amends on the road against an inconsistent QPR side.
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Losing against Peterborough United at the weekend before making a surprise exit from the Carabao Cup after Tuesday night’s home defeat against League One outfit Sunderland, Mark Warburton’s men are on the back foot coming into this tie and this will provide Forest with the perfect opportunity to get back to winning ways.
Tomorrow night’s away side will also take great encouragement from their last tie on the road, when Lyle Taylor scored two stoppage-time goals against Bristol City to turn the tie at Ashton Gate on its head.
Another three points tomorrow, by hook or by crook, would only help in their quest to continue climbing up the table after spending the early stages of the 2021/22 campaign at the bottom.
There are a few key requirements they must meet though, according to manager Cooper, who said: “I was interested to see how many supporters we’ll be taking down there (to QPR), we’ll be filling our allocation.
“It’s Friday night under the lights, it feels like a proper English football scenario. We’re really looking forward to it.
“There were 28,000 at the last two home games and we’re selling out away ends when we go away, so there’s a real responsibility with that.
“We have to have big character and show good resilience.
“There are some bits we definitely need to improve on and there’s a lot of progress to be made, but there’s a lot of potential in this group as well.
“We can’t get too high like at Bristol City which had a dramatic end, but certainly not get too low after the last game. We’ve got to try and stay consistent with all of these things and stick to what we believe in.”
Their belief and resilience will be key in winning all three points tomorrow – and you certainly wouldn’t bet against them winning this one considering QPR’s fortunes in the last couple of games.
The R’s may have started the season in a much better fashion than Forest, but they have been too inconsistent during the 2021/22 campaign and the latter will be hoping these inconsistencies will be on display again tomorrow night in west London.
But the away side need to focus on themselves, because they are more than capable of winning this game with their new system, a new manager in place and the quality they possess throughout their team.
If they want to establish themselves as play-off candidates, winning this tie in the English capital would be a major statement of intent to the rest of the league and would go a long way in showing they belong with the promotion pack.
Consistency will be key to this though, something upcoming opponents QPR haven’t been able to show so far this season after a fast start.