Aug 23, 2014 at 3pm UK at ​City Ground
Nott'm ForestNottingham Forest
Antonio (17', 47'), Fryatt (53'), Assombalonga (64')
Cohen (69')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Blackman (80')

Preview: Nottingham Forest vs. Reading

Sports Mole looks ahead to Saturday's Championship clash between league leaders Nottingham Forest and Reading at the City Ground.

The Championship leaders Nottingham Forest will be looking to retain their place at the summit of the table when they host Reading at the City Ground on Saturday.

Stuart Pearce's reign at the club has got off to a promising start, with two wins and a draw lifting Forest to the top of the table after three matches.

Of course, there is still a very long way to go in the season, but having been among the favourites for promotion before the 2014-15 campaign got underway, Pearce will be delighted with how his side have dealt with the pressure so far.

Fans will be wary that they made a good start to last season and looked like certainties to make the playoffs before a collapse in the second half of the campaign, but this is a different Forest set-up to the one that finished so tamely last term.

A new owner has brought with him new financial clout, and one of the big summer signings, Britt Assombalonga, has already begun repaying his £5.5m price tag with three goals in his last two games.

The latest of those goals helped Forest to come from behind and beat Bournemouth on Tuesday, a result that saw Pearce's side replace the Cherries at the top of the tree.

In truth, though, the fixture list has been kind to Forest in the early stages of the season. Blackpool at home is about as comfortable a start as they could have wished for, while they would have wanted more than a solitary point away to Bolton Wanderers.

Tougher tests will come over the next nine months, and it is then that we will know whether Forest will be able to remain around the automatic promotion spots all season.

Reading are certainly no pushovers for Pearce and his men this weekend, but the hosts should have a full-strength side to choose from for the encounter.

The Royals are once again expected to be challenging for a place in the top six this season, but the early signs have been less than encouraging in that respect.

Inconsistency has been the overriding theme of their opening three matches, with a win, a draw and a defeat in the league so far.

Having conceded a 93rd-minute equaliser in the opening match against Wigan Athletic, Reading went on to claim a good win against Ipswich Town. However, midweek brought with it a hugely disappointing result as Nigel Adkins's men fell to a 2-1 home loss to Huddersfield Town.

Such slip-ups can perhaps be paved over to a certain extent at this stage of the season, but Reading will certainly need a vast improvement if they are to get anything out of the league leaders this weekend.

Oliver Norwood has been brought in as Adkins looks to bolster his midfield, and he could make his debut at the City Ground either off the bench or from the start.

Academy product Aaron Kuhl may have also earned himself a start after impressing on his 45-minute debut on Tuesday as Adkins continues to trust youth this season.

However, Anton Ferdinand is once again expected to sit out as he continues to work his way back up to full fitness.

Recent form

Nottm Forest: WWDW

Reading: DWWL

Possible starting lineups

Nottm Forest: Darlow; Lichaj, Hobbs, Mancienne, Fox; Burke, Cohen, Reid, Antonio; Fryatt, Assombalonga

Reading: Federici; Gunter, Hector, Pearce, Kuhl; Blackman, Akpan, Obita, Taylor; Cox, Pogrebnyak

Sports Mole says: 2-0

Who will win Saturday's match between Nottingham Forest and Reading?

Nottingham Forest
Nottingham Forest
Oliver Norwood of Huddersfield Town during the npower Championship match between Huddersfield Town and Brighton & Hove Albion at the John Smith's Stadium on November 17, 2012
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