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

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

Nottingham Forest welcome Stoke City to the City Ground looking for the victory which will guarantee their Championship status for another 12 months.

Meanwhile, the Potters head into this encounter on the back of four games without success, leaving the club at risk of ending the campaign in the bottom half of the standings.


Match preview

Nottingham Forest manager Chris Hughton pictured on January 23, 2021© Reuters

When Stoke thrashed Forest in this fixture on the final day of last season, it seemingly epitomised the changing trajectories of both sides.

That feeling was strengthened for the majority of this campaign, but Stoke's recent poor form has left them at risk of being overtaken by their hosts.

Since September, Stoke have been regarded as contenders for the playoffs, while Forest have had to battle hard to move away from the relegation zone.

However, the gap between the sides is now just six points, a consequence of Michael O'Neill's team winning just three of their last 14 fixtures.

Forest have not fared much better with four victories being recorded in 13 outings, although Chris Hughton deserves credit for moving a team short of belief away from danger.

Stoke City's Jacob Brown in action against Coventry City in the Championship on April 21, 2021© Reuters

With Sheffield Wednesday and Preston North End to follow, there is a window of opportunity for Forest to significantly improve on their current 18th position.

In sharp contrast, finishing any lower than 13th spot may tempt the Stoke hierarchy into another change of direction during the summer.

While success in the East Midlands would change the mood at the bet365 Stadium, defeat would heap the pressure on O'Neill ahead of meetings with in-form Queens Park Rangers and Bournemouth.

On the plus side for Stoke, three of Jacob Brown's five goals this season have come since March 20.

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

Stoke City Championship form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • L



Team News

Stoke City manager Michael O'Neill pictured in October 2020© Reuters

Hughton could make a number of changes to his Forest XI, bringing in the likes of Anthony Knockaert and Lewis Grabban.

Depending on whether Hughton wants fresh legs in midfield, Cafu may also get the nod ahead of Ryan Yates or Joe Garner.

After Stoke's poor display against Coventry City, O'Neill could switch to a back four with Harry Souttar able to replace the injured James Chester.

John Obi Mikel and Steven Fletcher are expected to return to the starting lineup, taking the places of Josh Tymon and Christian Norton.

Having failed to make an impact during the last four fixtures, Nick Powell could drop to the substitutes' bench.

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

Stoke City possible starting lineup:
Gunn; Smith, Souttar, Batth, Norrington-Davies; Clucas, Mikel, Thompson; Brown, Fletcher, Matondo


SM words green background

We say: Nottingham Forest 1-0 Stoke City

With both teams out of form, this contest is unlikely to develop into a classic. Nevertheless, Forest are performing better in the defensive third of the pitch, and they may have the quality at the other end to take advantage of Stoke's lack of confidence.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals 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.Under 3.5:data


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How you voted: Nott'm Forest vs Stoke

Nottingham Forest
58.2%
Draw
27.3%
Stoke City
14.5%
55
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Stoke City manager Michael O'Neill pictured in December 2020
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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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