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Preview: Nottingham Forest vs. Preston North End - prediction, team news, lineups

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

Frankie McAvoy will be aiming to finish his spell as Preston North End's interim head coach on a high when his side travel to Nottingham Forest on the final day of the Championship season.

After top-10 finishes last year, both sides have worried about the threat of relegation for portions of this campaign and will each end in the bottom half.

Match preview

Preston North End's Brad Potts celebrates with teammates after scoring against Norwich City in the Championship on April 2, 2021© Reuters

As job auditions go, McAvoy could not have asked for a much better spell in charge of Preston after Alex Neil's departure in March. The 53-year-old has overseen the last seven games, and aside from a 5-0 defeat to Brentford, the Lancashire outfit have won four and kept five clean sheets.

Goals from Jordan Storey and Ched Evans secured a 2-0 win over playoff contenders Barnsley last weekend.

They head into the final game on a run of three consecutive victories, having not conceded since that thrashing at the hands of the Bees a month ago; the club have not won four league matches in a row since February 2016.

Preston were 16th and nine points clear of the relegation zone when Neil was sacked but will end the campaign no lower than 14th and at least 14 points above the bottom three.

McAvoy, who says he has "no regrets whatsoever" about his time in the dugout, is the second-favourite with bookmakers to take the job full time, behind current Wycombe Wanderers boss Gareth Ainsworth.

The Lilywhites actually have the joint-seventh best away record in the Championship this season, having picked up as many points on the road as promotion winners Watford.

Nottingham Forest's Glenn Murray celebrates scoring their first goal on March 13, 2021© Reuters

Heading into the final day of last season, Forest were in prime position to secure a playoff spot before an extraordinary turn of events saw them drop out of the top six in the last few minutes.

This year, the Reds can finish no higher than 15th – a position they have not surpassed all season. Chris Hughton was appointed manager in October and gradually steered the club away from relegation danger, but now they are crawling over the line.

Forest are winless in five and have drawn their last three matches, including a 0-0 stalemate with strugglers Sheffield Wednesday last weekend.

It was a result that summed up their season goals wise; only Birmingham City and Derby County have scored fewer than Hughton's side as they have struggled going forward, but at the other end of the pitch only the current top four have conceded fewer.

The Reds have won just six of their 22 matches at the City Ground this season – only Rotherham United have picked up fewer victories at home.

Lewis Grabban's penalty gave Forest a 1-0 victory in this season's reverse fixture at Deepdale in January, but that was their first league win over Preston in nine attempts since 2016.

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

Preston North End Championship form:
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W

Team News

Chris Hughton pictured in charge of Nottingham Forest on October 17, 2020© Reuters

Luke Freeman and Sammy Ameobi remain absent for Forest, meaning Filip Krovinovic could continue out wide.

However, Hughton may decide to move the Croatian back into the centre, allowing teenager Alex Mighten to come back into the starting lineup.

Grabban appears to be ending the season as the first-choice striker ahead of Lyle Taylor and Glenn Murray, but the trio have just 13 goals between them this season.

McAvoy has admitted that Preston's form has meant he has not been inclined to make many end-of-season changes to his team, so he may name the same side that beat Barnsley last week.

Goalkeeper Daniel Iversen would achieve his 10th clean sheet of the campaign if he keeps out Forest, and the Leicester City loanee is keen to return to Deepdale next season.

There is the possibility that 36-year-old Paul Gallagher, who has not featured since stepping up to support McAvoy in a coaching capacity, will play some part as his playing contract expires this summer.

Nottingham Forest possible starting lineup:
Samba; Christie, Worrall, McKenna, Ribeiro; Garner, Yates; Knockaert, Krovinovic, Mighten; Grabban

Preston North End possible starting lineup:
Iversen; Lindsay, Storey, Hughes; Van Den Berg, Ledson, Whiteman, Cunningham; Browne; Evans, Barkhuizen

SM words green background

We say: Nottingham Forest 0-1 Preston North End

Recent form may set the precedent for the result of this game as the season draws to a close. Forest look as if they hit the beach weeks ago, while Preston are finishing with a flourish, and we expect the Lilywhites to claim victory.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at 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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Barnsley manager Valerien Ismael celebrates after the match on March 13, 2021
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