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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 predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Preston North End play host to Nottingham Forest at Deepdale on Saturday as the visitors look to go five games unbeaten.

Preston, who are sitting in 11th spot in the league, overcame Coventry City last time out with a convincing 2-0 win.

Nottingham Forest, on the other hand, are just one spot above the Championship's drop zone after securing a point away to Stoke City.


Match preview

Preston North End manager Alex Neil pictured in September 2020© Reuters

Alex Neil's Preston come into this match off the back of three straight wins and will be confident of building on those fine displays to help them climb up the table.

Those three wins also come with the three clean sheets and although they have still conceded 30 goals so far this campaign - second only to Wycombe Wanderers - Neil will be pleased with his team's recent performances.

The Lilywhites have also managed to turn their abysmal home form on its head, and have won their last three home games to nil, overcoming Coventry City, Bristol City and Middlesbrough.

Neil's side currently sit fourth in the form table as they look back on a profitable end to the year, taking six wins from their last eight outings.

Nottingham Forest manager Chris Hughton pictured on October 20, 2020© Reuters

Forest fans will look back on 2020 as a largely forgettable year having seen their side struggle since missing out on promotion last season.

From beating Leeds in a memorable win back in February, to drawing with Stoke City in midweek, Forest's record in all competitions stands at won seven, drawn 14, lost 17 - a run of seven wins in 38 outings.

Still, Chris Hughton is making progress, and it is worth noting that four of those wins have come in the first 15 games of his tenure. They are also unbeaten in their last four, securing three draws and one win.

After more than 450 games in management, Hughton, who is now 62, looks to face the twin challenges of a fight to lead the club away from the relegation zone and a battle against the effects of COVID-19 restrictions.

Forest have also made things just a little bit harder for themselves by adding 14 players to a squad that had flirted with promotion last season.

Such an influx of new faces has seemingly created new problems, and 13 of those signings were made under Sabri Lamouchi, who was then sacked five games into the new campaign.

Hughton's men will now face Preston, followed by two home fixtures against Millwall and Middlesbrough - who have both been inconsistent of late - where they will hope to pick up results that will lead them clear of the bottom three.

Preston North End Championship form: DWLLWW

Nottingham Forest Championship form: LLWDDD


Team News

Preston North End's Scott Sinclair celebrates scoring against Reading on November 4, 2020© Reuters

Preston have several injury concerns right now, with four players ruled out for this game with serious injuries.

Patrick Bauer has been ruled out for the entire season with an Achilles injury. Scott Sinclair, Ben Pearson and Billy Bodin are all out until mid-January, while Louis Moult is also set to miss out.

Nottingham Forest also have a handful of injuries to deal with coming into this match. Scott McKenna and Luke Freeman have been ruled out with an ankle and groin injury, respectively.

Jack Colback is also a doubt after suffering a knock and looks unlikely to feature.

Preston North End possible starting lineup:
Rudd; Fisher, Huntington, Davies, Earl; Browne, Ledson; Barkhuizen, Johnson, Harrop; Maguire

Nottingham Forest possible starting lineup:
Samba; Christie, Figueiredo, Worrall, Ribeiro; Yates, Sow; Lolley, Cafu, Knockaert; Taylor



SM words green background

We say: Preston North End 2-1 Nottingham Forest

Nottingham Forest are a better outfit than their league position suggests, but this should prove to be a tricky match for the Tricky Trees. Preston are in excellent form right now, and although their defence has been porous throughout the season, they could well find a way to score against Hughton's side. With that in mind, we are predicting a narrow home victory for the Lilywhites.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 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.Over 1.5:data


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Todd Cantwell celebrates scoring for Norwich City against Cardiff City in the Championship on December 19, 2020
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Friday's key events


ATHLETICS
· The athletics schedule begins, with 100m sprinter Dina Asher-Smith among the names in action on the opening day. The men's 10,000m final concludes the action, with Team GB's Sam Atkin and Marc Scott taking part in the absence of 2012 and 2016 champion Sir Mo Farah (1am-2.30pm)

ROWING
· Victoria Thornley is Team GB's representative in the women's single sculls final (1.33am)
· Great Britain will be going for gold in the men's eight final (2.25am)

SWIMMING
· Team GB duo Molly Renshaw and Abbie Wood take part in the women's 200m breaststroke final, but new Olympic record-holder Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa is the hot favourite (2.41am)
· Luke Greenbank has very realistic ambitions of picking up a medal in the men's 200m backstroke final (2.50am)
· There is also British representation in the women's 100m freestyle final, although any medal for Anna Hopkin would be a surprise (2.59am)
· With one gold and one silver already under his belt at these Games, Duncan Scott goes again in the men's 200m individual medley final (3.16am)

TRAMPOLINE
· Bryony Page will be looking to repeat her 2016 heroics in the women's event (5am-7.30pm)

CANOE SLALOM
· Bradley Forbes-Cryans will be looking to emulate Rio gold medallist Joe Clarke in the men's kayak event (6am-9am)

FOOTBALL
· The women's tournament enters the quarter-finals, with Great Britain facing Australia at the Ibaraki Kashima Stadium (10am)

> Today's schedule in full
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