Boss looks to Saturday's gameSteve Clarke believes that Nottingham Forest are riding the crest of a wave under boss Dougie Freedman, but has backed his Royals side to give the Reds a tough test at Madejski Stadium.
Freedman’s extended his unbeaten start as Forest manager to five games by beating Bournemouth in midweek – and his side have scored 16 goals in those five matches.
“You can get a positive impact when any manager comes in. I think we managed to achieve it a little bit here,” said Clarke.
“Dougie Freedman has gone into Forest and they’ve had a really good run since he got there. They’re organised, they’re a difficult team to break down, they play good football and they’re a dangerous team. We think at our best we can give anyone in this league a game, that’s what we hope to do on Saturday.”
A punishing schedule lead to the likes of Danny Williams, Simon Cox and Pavel Pogrebnyak sitting out the defeat to Huddersfield Town in midweek, and the manager admits only time will tell if they are to benefit from that rest.
“It’s not a positive you have to leave players out, it’s a reflection of the fact the Championship is a really difficult league. The travel was a concern. A six hour round trip to Ipswich followed by a ten hour round trip to Huddersfield is a hard schedule. I took the opportunity to rotate a few players. It didn’t work out in terms of results, we’ll see if it works out in terms of rotation.
“Midweek is gone, there’s not a lot we can do about it. I spent Wednesday picking the bones out of it and I’ve come to my conclusions. From there we’ve got to work with the team going forward, it's a really difficult game at the weekend. I think Forest are in a rich vein of form, they had a fantastic result in midweek at home to Bournemouth and we expect a tough game.”
Finally, the boss confirmed there are no new injury concerns ahead of the clash, after Chris Gunter returned to the matchday squad at the John Smith’s Stadium.
“Chris is back and it’s good to have him back in the squad, everyone else is fit and well apart from the lads who were previously injured.”
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