This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more
Nottingham Forest host Middlesbrough tonight in what looks to be a must-win game for Chris Hughton.
The Reds have yielded one point from their opening six games, and Sunday’s defeat to Cardiff was their fifth of the season already.
Tonight, they will be desperate to pick up a first win of the season, as Neil Warnock’s Boro travel to the East Midlands.
Warnock’s side have only won one of their opening six games, so will also be looking to turn their form around and start climbing the table.
Here, we discuss how we see this one going…
Tonight’s contest is a game between two sides out of form, but Nottingham Forest in particular, are moving into a dangerous position already.
One point from their opening six games is a terrible start for Forest’s standards, but the one thing that you can say about them, is that they never seem to be battered in games.
Instead, they have been narrowly edged out by a goal in each of their five defeats, and will be viewing this latest test against Boro as a winnable fixture.
Neil Warnock’s side are yet to pick up all three points away from home thus far, but this is their best chance to do so coming up.
On paper, these are two sides who possess squads that are full of Championship talent, but there is not much confidence within both camps at present.
Winning is more of a necessity for Chris Hughton, whose job is by no means secure. He has great experience of steering clubs to success in this division, but it has not gone the way he has planned thus far.
I imagine tonight’s game will be a cagey affair, that Middlesbrough may just edge with a 1-0 victory.
This is a huge game for both teams but you would have to feel that for Chris Hughton it could be a case of win or bust really in terms of his managerial career at the City Ground.
Forest’s awful start to the campaign has been well documented and there is only so long that Hughton can claim that it is just a case of being on the wrong side of the margins in tight contests.
There is some truth in that to be fair to the Nottingham Forest manager, but he is more than experienced enough to know that irrespective of how close his side are to picking up results, without them his job is under major threat.
Nottingham Forest need to get off to a strong start and if they can do that then they may be able to gain some belief and try and end up on the right side of the result.
Middlesbrough, meanwhile, need the three points as well with Neil Warnock admitting to the media that they are behind where he wanted them to be at this point in the campaign.
The defeat at Coventry City on Saturday is one that highlighted weaknesses in Boro’s squad, but if they can turn up and be organised and difficult to beat then the pressure could get to Forest. That is then something they could look to take advantage of.
I can see this one being very tight and being decided by the odd goal, with the margins the way they are for Forest at the moment, you would not be surprised to see Boro edge this one 1-0 or 2-1.
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This one has the feel of a game that could well be heading for a draw in all honesty.
Both sides have endured rather poor starts to the season, with Forest taking just one point and ‘Boro just one win, from their opening six league games of the Championship campaign.
As a result, you feel that the two teams will either see this an opportunity for the win and go all out for the three points, or take a more cautious approach in an attempt to avoid giving too much away against another struggling side.
Either way, it seems possible that with these two teams potentially taking a similar approach to the other, they could end up cancelling each other out, which may leave both sides to settle for a point that won’t help either team in the early league standings.
Add to that the fact that both sides have rather struggled to pose much of a threat in front of goal recently, and it is hard to see either really taking control of this game going forward. 1-1.