Mar 29, 2014 at 3pm UK at ​Portman Road
IpswichIpswich Town
Nott'm ForestNottingham Forest
Murphy (78')
Williams (79')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Collins (4')
Halford (27'), Jara (47'), Fox (74'), Darlow (90')

Preview: Ipswich Town vs. Nottingham Forest

Sports Mole looks ahead to Saturday's Championship clash between fellow playoff hopefuls Ipswich Town and Nottingham Forest at Portman Road.

Nottingham Forest's season is unravelling at the worst possible time, and the team is nearing crisis mode as they find themselves out of the top six and without a manager.

Billy Davies was sacked by the club on Monday following the embarrassment of a 5-0 defeat to bitter rivals Derby County, but their hopes of installing a successor quickly have been knocked back by Neil Warnock and Stuart Pearce, both of whom have turned the job down.

Things showed no improvement on the pitch either as Forest fell to a 1-0 defeat at home to relegation-threatened Charlton Athletic on Tuesday, taking their winless streak to nine.

It has all turned very bad, very quickly for the club, who looked certainties for a playoff place on the back of a 16-match unbeaten streak at the tail end of last year and the beginning of 2014.

However, they are now two points adrift of the top six and in desperate need of a drastic turnaround in form if they are to rescue their ailing playoff hopes.

There have been no signs of such a turnaround, however. Forest have scored just once in their last five matches and have conceded 20 in their last nine.

The club are looking to appoint a new manager by the end of next week, but in their attempts to get something positive out of what has been a woeful few days they will still be without Kelvin Wilson, Chris Cohen, David Vaughan, Henri Lansbury, Jack Hobbs and Andy Reid.

While Forest have been falling, Ipswich have been rebuilding their playoff challenge and now find themselves level on points with their opponents, just two places below the top six.

The Tractor Boys enjoyed just about the perfect set of midweek results, beating Derby County 2-1 while Wigan Athletic, Reading, Forest and Brighton & Hove Albion all lost.

That has thrust them very much into the mix for a top six spot and if they can continue the sort of form that has seen them win three of their last four games then they will stand a good chance of sneaking in.

Victory on Saturday could be enough for Mick McCarthy's men to move past Reading and into sixth, depending on results elsewhere, but it is also worth noting that Brighton have a game in hand over the majority of their playoff rivals.

Ipswich have enjoyed good form at Portman Road all season and are currently on a run of just one defeat in their last six matches in front of their own fans, beating fellow playoff hopefuls Reading and Derby in that time.

Their form has been even more impressive considering that it has come without top scorer David McGoldrick, who will not feature again this season due to injury, while Cole Skuse is also a doubt for Saturday's match.

Recent form

Ipswich: WLWLWW

Nottm Forest: LLDDLL

Possible starting lineups

Ipswich: Gerken; Chambers, Berra, Smith, Cresswell; Anderson, Wordsworth, Hyam, Nouble; Williams; Murphy

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

Sports Mole says: 2-1

Forest boss Billy Davies during the match against Watford on August 25, 2013
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