Preview: Nottingham Forest vs. Doncaster Rovers

Preview: Nottm Forest vs. Doncaster
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Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship clash between playoff hopefuls Nottingham Forest and in-form Doncaster.

Two sides at opposite ends of the table and in contrasting form will face off on Saturday as Nottingham Forest host Doncaster Rovers at the City Ground.

Forest have seen their fine spell of results well and truly ended in recent weeks, and they must now rediscover winning ways soon if they are to hold on to their place in the playoffs.

Billy Davies's side had gone 16 games without defeat before their shock exit from the FA Cup at the hands of Sheffield United, since when they have gone five games without winning and have only picked up two Championship points from a possible 15.

That leaves them just a point above seventh-placed Wigan Athletic having played two games more than the Latics, while Brighton are also very much in the race as they sit three points behind with a game in hand.

Forest are now in a four-way scrap for the final two playoff positions, and if their form does not improve soon then they could well find themselves dropping out of the top six.

They will take some solace in their impressive record at home this season, although even that has come under threat recently as they fell to a 4-1 defeat to Wigan Athletic in their last match in front of their own fans.

That was their first loss at the City Ground in 10 games, however, and Davies will be eyeing Saturday's match as a perfect opportunity to return to winning ways and reaffirm their place in the top six.

However, he will have to do it with a depleted squad as Kelvin Wilson, Chris Cohen, Henri Lansbury, David Vaughan and Jack Hobbs are all out with injuries, although Andy Reid is available again.

Doncaster will certainly not be pushovers for Forest, and they go into the match in better form than their high flying opponents.

Back-to-back wins at a crucial time of the season have given Rovers an invaluable seven-point gap between themselves and the relegation zone - a cushion made all the more important considering the bottom three all have at least one game in hand over them.

They have not won three in a row all season, and doing so could lift them as high as 18th in the table and 10 points above the dotted line.

However, they have very much relied on their home form to lift them to safety while their away form has remained poor throughout the campaign.

Paul Dickov's side have not won on their travels since September, a run of 13 matches that has yielded a measly total of three points from a possible 39.

They have lost seven of their last eight away games and have only managed to score once in their last five, not finding the back of the net on the road since January 25.

Dickov does have problems in defence with Gabriel Tamas, Jamie McCombe, Rob Jones, and Bongani Khumalo all injured, meaning that he is likely to deploy the same 3-5-2 formation that they played against Watford on Tuesday.

Recent form

Nottm Forest: LDLLLD

Doncaster: LDLLWW

Possible starting lineups

Nottm Forest: Darlow; Halford, Collins, Lascelles, Fox; Jara, Greening; Mackie, Abdoun, Paterson; Henderson

Doncaster: Johnstone; Quinn, Meite, Husband; Duffy, Keegan, Wellens, Cotterill, Coppinger; Brown Sharp

Sports Mole says: 2-0

Sheffield United manager Danny Wilson looks on during a League One match at Brammall Lane on February 1, 2013
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Leeds UnitedLeeds96211751220
2Wolverhampton WanderersWolves9621159620
3Cardiff CityCardiff9621148620
4Preston North EndPreston944193616
5Middlesbrough9432116515
6Ipswich TownIpswich85031411315
7Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd850386215
8Bristol City93511510514
9Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds8341107313
10Aston Villa93421210213
11Queens Park RangersQPR93331212012
12Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest94051215-312
13Norwich CityNorwich9333812-412
14Fulham925298111
15Derby CountyDerby83231212011
16Millwall9243119210
17Hull City92341516-19
18Reading823378-19
19Burton Albion9234615-99
20Brentford91441012-27
21Barnsley8215913-47
22Sunderland9135814-66
23Birmingham CityBirmingham9126513-85
24Bolton WanderersBolton9027419-152
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