This weekend’s hosts Nottingham Forest have invested heavily this summer in a bid to end their 11-year absence from the Premier League.
Royals boss Paul Clement has been keeping a keen eye on the Midlands side ahead of Saturday’s meeting, and knows what kind of threats to expect from our hosts when we visit the City Ground.
Spending big doesn’t always work – but Clement feels that Forest could be an especially tricky opposition, with a mix of Championship knowhow and match-winning ability amongst their number.
“I came across Aitor Karanka when I was at Derby and he was at Middlesbrough – he’s a nice guy, a good coach and he did well at Boro. He’s trying to build something now at Forest,” Clement said.
“They’ve had draws in each of the first two games – I went to the first one and watched the second. I thought they looked good in their second. It’s a home fixture for them and they’ll want to get their first victory on the board, but it’s important for us to build on the performance that we put in against Derby.
“We played well last Friday and ended up with nothing. We’ve got to try and play well again… and end up with points this time!
“They have got a nice blend there. They’ve got some British players, Michael Dawson has gone back there from Hull and Lewis Grabban who we know for his time here on loan. And they’ve got some foreign players such as the three Portuguese players that they have bought in.
“They are trying to get that mix of experience and players who understand the Championship, as well as players that can make the difference. Forest are a good side – they played well the other night against West Brom.
“The important thing for us is building on the performance we put in against Derby – in particular the first half. If we can perform at that level over a longer period, we’ll have a good chance.”