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Preview: Nottingham Forest vs. Reading - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship clash between Nottingham Forest and Reading, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Reading will be looking to continue their recent winning run and cement their place in the Championship playoffs when they travel to Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

The Royals are fifth in the table, four points clear of Bournemouth in seventh, while Forest have suffered a dip in form and are 17th.


Match preview

George Puscas celebrates scoring for Reading against Blackburn Rovers in the Championship on March 2, 2021© Reuters

Reading's 3-0 triumph over Sheffield Wednesday last weekend was their third successive win and their joint biggest margin of victory so far this season.

It was only two and a half weeks ago that the Royals suffered a shock defeat to bottom club Wycombe Wanderers and there were questions over whether they would be able to sustain their playoff bid, but Veljko Paunovic's side are now firmly back on track.

After facing Forest, Reading travel to struggling Birmingham City, so will see an opportunity to keep up their winning run.

The Berkshire outfit have only lost two of their last 11 league matches on the road and have kept a clean sheet in five of their most recent seven away trips.

Goalkeeper Rafael Cabral has kept 16 clean sheets in total in the Championship this season – only Swansea City's Freddie Woodman (17) has more.

Reading won 2-0 in this season's reverse fixture in December thanks to goals from Lucas Joao and Michael Morrison, but they have not triumphed at the City Ground in their last six visits.

Nottingham Forest's Alex Mighten celebrates after scoring their first goal on February 20, 2021© Reuters

Forest have won just five of their 17 home league matches this season and only one of the last five; their games at the City Ground have tended to be low-scoring affairs, with only four Championship clubs scoring fewer goals at home but only four conceding fewer too.

That is reflected in their wider form as well as only one of their last seven fixtures has featured more than one goal, which was a 1-1 draw against rivals Derby County.

Defeats to Luton Town and Watford have followed that result, leaving Forest winless in three and with just three goals to their name in seven matches.

It does not get any easier for the Reds either as Saturday's game is the start of a tough run of fixtures, facing Norwich City, Brentford and Cardiff City in the next three weeks – all sides currently in the top eight.

As a result, relegation is not completely off the table for Chris Hughton's side, who are eight points clear of the bottom three, particularly as 22nd-placed Rotherham United have three games in hand over them.

Nottingham Forest Championship form:
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • L

Reading Championship form:
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W


Team News

Reading manager Veljko Paunovic pictured in December 2020© Reuters

Harry Arter, Scott McKenna and Lewis Grabban are all back in training for Forest, but the trio are unlikely to be risked in case they re-aggravate their injuries.

There is a battle for the left-back role between Yuri Ribeiro and Gaetan Bong, while the second holding midfield spot next to James Garner is also up for grabs; Ryan Yates seems the most likely candidate but did not appear 100% fit last weekend after returning from injury.

Reading boss Paunovic has suggested that Andy Rinomhota, Yakou Meite and Ovie Ejaria could all play a part this weekend after recovering from their recent injuries.

It will leave Paunovic with a dilemma over which system to use – a diamond midfield worked particularly well against Sheffield Wednesday - but having Meite and Ejaria back available could tempt him to revert to a 4-2-3-1 and therefore drop George Puscas.

Nottingham Forest possible starting lineup:
Samba; Christie, Figueiredo, Worrall, Ribeiro; Garner, Yates; Knockaert, Krovinovic, Lolley; Murray

Reading possible starting lineup:
Rafael; Yiadom, Moore, McIntyre, Richards; Laurent, Semedo; Meite, Olise, Ejaria; Joao


SM words green background

We say: Nottingham Forest 0-1 Reading

Reading seem to have found their form again at just the right time, while Forest have done the opposite and are now going through a tricky patch; for that reason, we think that the Royals will get all three points but in keeping with the Reds' recent matches, it should be a low-scoring affair.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:data


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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CNorwich CityNorwich462910775363997
4Swansea CitySwansea4623111256391780
5Barnsley46239145850878
6Bournemouth4622111373462777
7Reading461913146254870
8Cardiff CityCardiff4618141466491768
9Queens Park RangersQPR461911165755268
10Middlesbrough461810185553264
11Millwall461517144752-562
12Luton TownLuton461711184152-1162
13Preston North EndPreston46187214956-761
14Stoke CityStoke461515165052-260
15Blackburn RoversBlackburn4615121965541157
16Coventry CityCoventry461413194961-1255
17Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest461216183745-852
18Birmingham CityBirmingham461313203761-2452
19Bristol City46156254668-2251
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield461213215071-2149
21Derby CountyDerby461111243658-2244
RWycombe WanderersWycombe461110253969-3043
RRotherham UnitedRotherham46119264460-1642
RSheffield WednesdaySheff Weds461211234061-2141

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