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

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

Two sides with aspirations of qualifying for the playoffs will lock horns in the Championship on Saturday as Preston North End welcome Nottingham Forest to Deepdale.

Forest are comfortably in the mix for a top-six finish as they lie fifth on 68 points, while Preston are three points adrift of sixth-placed Cardiff City as they occupy eighth position on 61 points.

Match preview

Preston North End's Brad Potts celebrates scoring against Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship on July 8, 2020© Reuters

Preston North End will be hoping that their victory over Sheffield Wednesday acts as the catalyst for a late charge for the top six, given the fact that Alex Neil's side had slipped further and further away from the playoff places before the midweek win.

Preston looked down and out against the Owls before a number of inspired substitutions by Neil turned the game on its head - with substitues Scott Sinclair, Jayden Stockley and Brad Potts all scoring to complete a remarkable late turnaround for the Lilywhites.

Playoff-chasing Preston had endured a barren run of seven games without a win prior to their triumph at Hillsborough, but the Lilywhites are still firmly in contention for a top-six berth with just four games of the season remaining.

While Neil's men have finally managed to arrest their slump and pick up their first win since the restart, time is running out for Preston to try and break into the playoff spots as they dream of playing in the Premier League for the first time in their history.

Neil's side will now endeavour to end a three-game losing run on familiar territory, but Forest ought to fancy their chances of bagging at least one goal as Preston have not kept a clean sheet at Deepdale since September.

Nottingham Forest boss Sabri Lamouchi on February 1, 2020© Reuters

Meanwhile, Forest are comfortably in the mix for a top-six finish, but they are practically out of the running for an automatic promotion spot following a 1-0 defeat to fellow playoff hopefuls Fulham on Tuesday evening.

Harry Arter struck on the only goal of the game on the brink of half time to leave Forest 10 points adrift of second-placed Leeds United, who have a game in hand, but Sabri Lamouchi's side boast a five-point cushion over seventh-placed Swansea City with four games left to play.

The manner of Forest's defeat to Fulham would have certainly frustrated Lamouchi, though, especially considering that his side also fell victim to a Chris Martin equaliser six minutes into injury time against Derby County last weekend.

For a side with aspirations of promotion back to the top flight, three wins from their last 11 outings in the Championship makes for bleak reading for the Forest faithful, and fans will certainly be hoping for a quick turnaround in fortunes should Forest secure a spot in the playoffs.

The two sides played out a 1-1 draw at the City ground in the reverse fixture, but Forest have failed to win in their last seven meetings with Preston.

Preston Championship form: LDLLDW

Nottingham Forest Championship form: LDWWDL

Team News

Jayden Stockley celebrates scoring for Preston North End on December 14, 2019© Reuters

Preston's Paul Huntington will serve the third and final game of his retrospective ban following a charge of violent conduct against Derby County.

Neil's substitutes made quite the impact in the win over Wednesday, and Jayden Stockley and Scott Sinclair will therefore both be hoping that their contributions in midweek were enough to earn them a spot in the starting XI against Forest.

As for Forest, Samba Sow was hauled off at half-time against Fulham and may not be risked from the off in this one, meaning that Alfa Semedo or Ryan Yates could partner Ben Watson in midfield.

Joe Lolley is another player who struggled in midweek and could be given a rest here, meaning that Tiago Silva may be moved to a central role behind Lewis Grabban.

Joao Carvalho could also be in line for a start as Lamouchi looks to freshen things up having played just 17 minutes since the Championship was given the green light to resume.

Preston possible starting lineup:
Rudd; Rafferty, Bauer, Davies, Hughes; Pearson, Ledson; Barkhuizen, Browne, Sinclair; Stockley

Nottingham Forest possible starting lineup:
Samba; Cash, Worrall, Figueiredo, Ribiero; Watson, Yates; Ameobi, Silva, Carvalho; Grabban

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We say: Preston 1-1 Nottingham Forest

This fixture has all the makings of a tightly-fought battle. Preston will be fully aware that the race to secure a playoff spot is far from over, and Neil should expect to see that motivation translate onto the pitch. Forest's recent from has not been all that bad despite their disappointing defeat to Fulham, but we cannot pick a winner for this one.


Who will win Saturday’s Championship clash between Preston North End and Nottingham Forest?

Preston North End
Nottingham Forest
Preston North End
Nottingham Forest
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Derby County's Wayne Rooney in action with Nottingham Forest's Samba Sow on July 4, 2020
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rhs 2.0
CLeeds UnitedLeeds46289977354293
5Cardiff CityCardiff4619161168581073
6Swansea CitySwansea461816126253970
7Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest461816125850870
9Preston North EndPreston461812165954566
10Derby CountyDerby461713166264-264
11Blackburn RoversBlackburn461712176663363
12Bristol City461712176065-563
13Queens Park RangersQPR461610206776-958
15Stoke CityStoke46168226268-656
16Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds461511205866-856
18Huddersfield TownHuddersfield461312215270-1851
19Luton TownLuton46149235482-2851
20Birmingham CityBirmingham461214205475-2150
RCharlton AthleticCharlton461212225065-1548
RWigan AthleticWigan461514175756147
RHull City46129255787-3045

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