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🔍 Inside Scoop: Nottingham Forest

We caught up with another local journalist covering this weekend's opponents Nottingham Forest

12 March 2021

Ahead of tomorrow's meeting with Nottingham Forest, we spoke to one of their local journalists, who has been covering their team week in, week out, in order to get the inside scoop on this weekend's opponents, 17th placed Forest.

NottinghamshireLive's Sarah Clapson gives an insight into the latest from The City Ground, as we prepare to make the trip to the Midlands to do battle with Chris Hughton's men on Saturday.

Sarah, thanks for speaking to us, how would you summarise Forest’s season so far?

Unexpected! I'm not sure many people would have predicted Forest to have spent most of the season battling at the bottom end of the table. That's certainly not what they were hoping for - the aim was to challenge for a top six spot again.


It's been a tough season in that respect. They turned a poor run of form around though and had a really good few weeks prior to their last two games. Finding the back of the net is something they've struggled with, however.

How has the reality of Forest's campaign compared to your expectations at the start of the season?

After going so close to making the top six last term, the hope was that Forest would build on that and really push to go a step further this time. That was very much the ambition. They signed a lot of players in the summer. In hindsight, so many changes were probably not required, but on paper they looked to have put a really good squad together.

Last weekend, Forest fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat against Watford, how did they look in that one?

Progress has been made. It might not be as quick as some fans would like, but it was always going to take time. Hughton steadied the ship after a miserable start to the season and has made Forest tough to beat.


Making them more solid defensively was the priority, and he's definitely done that. Work still needs to be done at the other end of the pitch, but there is certainly a good base from which to build on.

Watching from afar, what's your verdict on Reading this season, particularly during our 2-0 win over Forest back in early December?

Reading have had a really good season. It won't be a surprise if they keep their place in the top six. I do think the result in the reverse fixture was harsh on Forest. It was a horrible error which cost them early on and then they were down to 10 men for so long. It was always going to be difficult after that.

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Credit to Reading, though, they made the most of that opportunity - that's what you need to do if you're going to challenge at the top end of the table.

There are three former Royals in the Forest squad in Tyler Blackett, Glenn Murray and Lewis Grabban, how are they getting on?

A bit like most of the Forest squad, it's been an up and down season for them. Murray has done well since he joined in January. He made a big impact when he first came in but has perhaps been a bit quieter in the last few games. He'll be aiming to grab a few more goals before the end of the campaign.


Grabban has had a tough time, struggling with injury and finding goals hard to come by - but he's not the only one who's not hit top form. Blackett has found it hard to pin down a place in the side, but has provided a decent option from off the bench when needed.

Which Forest players should Reading fans be keeping an eye out for as your biggest assets?

Anthony Knockaert can be a real threat when he's on his game. He's certainly got bags of talent. He had a quiet first half of the season but has started to show what he's capable of since his loan deal was extended in January. When he's playing well, he's a great source of attacking threat.


James Garner has been very good since he arrived in January, too. He's made the midfield spot his own and looks to have a very bright future ahead of him.

With 11 games to go, what are you hoping Forest can achieve between now and the end of the season?  

Safety! It looks like they will be fine as they have a decent cushion between themselves and the bottom three, but you just never know in the Championship. They can't afford to relax just yet. It's a cliche but just finishing as high up the table as possible would do.

They will want to end the season well, to hopefully get a bit of momentum going into the summer and then a much better campaign next time around.

Sarah Clapson is Nottingham Forest correspondent for NottinghamshireLive.

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