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Match Previews

🔜 Ahead of the game | Royals Nottingham bound for Forest test

Our preview of Saturday's trip to face Chris Hughton's side in the Midlands

12 March 2021

In the first of two trips to the Midlands in the space of four days, the Royals make the trip to the City Ground to take on Nottingham Forest, as we look to extend our unbeaten start to March with a fourth straight win.

Veljko Paunović's men will be hoping to do the double over Forest this weekend, having beaten them in Berkshire during the festive period as fans made a memorable return to the stands. 

Three points for the Royals in Nottinghamshire could see us move seven points clear of seventh, with 10 games to go. However, Saturday will be another battle, and far from easy, against a well-drilled Forest outfit who don't concede many goals.

How to watch

Saturday's meeting with Forest is available for supporters to watch via iFollow.

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Royals supporters can grab their Match Pass to watch proceedings unfold, by clicking here ahead of our 3pm kick-off in Nottinghamshire.

The opposition

It's been a tough season for Forest, but since the arrival of experienced boss and former Championship winner Chris Hughton, the Reds have pulled themselves clear of the drop zone, earning seven points in their last five games.

Last time out, Forest fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat to promotion chasers Watford, and are now winless in three, with their most recent victory coming against strugglers Rotherham United. Ryan Yates scored Forest's goal as they edged past the Millers.

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Within their ranks, Forest have three former Royals, defender Tyler Blackett who made 122 Reading appearances, and former loan strikers Glenn Murray and Lewis Grabban.

In January, Forest bolstered their hopes of a successful second-half of the season with the additions of Murray, and loanees James Garner and Filip Krovinovic who arrived from Manchester United and Benfica respectively. Saturday's hosts also extended their current loan agreement for Fulham winger Anthony Knockaert.

One to watch: Glenn Murray

A proven goalscorer at Premier League and Championship level with over 200 career goals, sharp shooter Murray is always a threat, something Royals fans will be well aware of, having seen him score eight goals in 18 appearances while on loan at Reading during the 2014-15 season. 

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Now aged 37, the Cumbria-born striker signed permanently for Forest in February, following his departure from Brighton. He left the Seagulls as the club's second top goalscorer of all time, an eight year spell during which he netted on 111 occasions, and enjoyed promotion to the Premier League. 

Murray began his career with Workington FC in 2002, before making a surge up the divisions, to play for the likes of Carlisle United, Rochdale, Crystal Palace, AFC Bournemout and Watford. 

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Since arriving at the City Ground, the striker who holds the record for the most goals scored in a Championship season (30) has found the net twice in nine appearances to date under friend and former-Brighton boss Chris Hughton.

Pre-match chat

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Head-to-head

The Royals are unbeaten in their last four meetings with Forest, dating back to August 2018, and they will be looking to continue this strong run of form against the Reds on Saturday.

The reverse fixture between the two teams earlier in the season was a monumental one, not only because the Royals ran out 2-0 winners, but because the game saw the long-awaited return of our supporters. Goals from Lucas João and Michael Morrison ensured we took the points back in early December.

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Our last trip to the City Ground in January 2020 saw us earn a share of the spoils against Forest for the second time in 11 days, as Sam Baldock's shot on the turn ensured the contest finished 1-1 in Nottingham.

We haven't tasted victory on Forest soil since Pavel Pogrebnyak, Jordan Obita and Kaspars Gorkss scored in a 3-2 win back in November 2013.

Reading have won 17 and drawn 12 of a total 49 meetings between the sides, the first of which came over 115 years ago, in February 1903.

Ref watch

Stephen Martin will be the man in the middle at the City Ground on Saturday, for what will be his first Reading game of the season.

Martin last took charge of a Royals fixture at the tail end of last season, during our 4-1 home defeat to Swansea City in July 2020. George Pușcaș was our scorer from the spot, while the Romanian was also yellow carded and Yakou Méïté was sent off on a tough afternoon at the Madejski.

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Mark Pottage and Matthew McGrath will assist Martin in Nottingham, while Oliver Langford will be the fourth official on this occasion.

During Martin's 24 league games to date, he has brandished 54 yellow cards and two additional red cards.

Reminder

A polite reminder to our supporters that no unauthorised access will be permitted to this game, so supporters must not travel to The City Ground.

We can’t wait to see you all again soon – but for now it’s important that when we play, please stay away.


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