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Preview: Sheffield Wednesday vs. Nottingham Forest - prediction, team news, lineups

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

Sheffield Wednesday will be relegated from the Championship if they lose to Nottingham Forest on Saturday afternoon.

The Owls are 23rd in the table and four points behind 21st-place Derby County, meaning they need to better the Rams' result against Swansea City to stay in the hunt for survival.


Match preview

Sheffield Wednesday's Josh Windass remonstrates with referee Chris Kavanagh after Tom Lees scored an own goal against Watford in the Championship on April 2, 2021© Reuters

Wednesday were beaten 3-1 by Middlesbrough last weekend, so were relieved to see that Derby also lost to Birmingham City to take the race for safety to the final two games.

The Owls travel to the Rams next weekend, which will make for a mouth-watering final day fixture if survival still hangs in the balance.

There was hope that Darren Moore may be able to return to the bench on Saturday after suffering from pneumonia and blood clots as a result of having had coronavirus, but the club have confirmed that the boss will still not be present at Hillsborough, meaning that Jamie Smith will continue to take the reins.

Wednesday have won just two of seven games in his absence, but their home record this season ranks just inside the top half of the Championship.

They have only lost one of their last five matches at Hillsborough, while only Watford, Norwich City and Swansea City have conceded fewer home goals in the Championship this season.

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

Relegation looked a real possibility for Forest too in the first half of the campaign, but Chris Hughton has steered the Reds away from danger, and they will have hopes of fighting at the right end of the Championship next year.

That said, Forest are threatening to end this season with a whimper, as they are winless in their last four matches and have picked up just two victories in their last 12.

Hughton said his team were "the better side" in a 1-1 draw against Stoke City last weekend, as Lewis Grabban cancelled out Rabbi Matondo's opener.

It leaves Forest 17th on 51 points – 19 fewer than they had at this point last season – and the Reds could still finish as high as 13th or as low as 20th.

Only three sides have netted fewer goals in the Championship this season than the Reds, who have scored no more than one goal in 15 of their last 16 matches. That said, only four clubs have conceded fewer.

The East Midlands outfit won 2-0 in this season's reverse fixture in December but have not picked up three points in their last five visits to Hillsborough.

Sheffield Wednesday Championship form:
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • L

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



Team News

Sheffield Wednesday's Jordan Rhodes in action with Norwich City's Teemu Pukki in the Championship on March 14, 2021© Reuters

Tom Lees was stretchered off in Sheffield Wednesday's defeat to Middlesbrough and it is likely he will miss the rest of the season.

Osaze Urhoghide is expected to take his place in the Owls' back three; fellow centre-backs Joost van Aken and Chey Dunkley are nearing full fitness after injury but are unlikely to be ready to start this game.

Wednesday have regularly rotated their attacking options this season, making it possible that Jordan Rhodes and Kadeem Harris could return to the starting lineup after dropping to the bench against Boro.

A knee problem forced Luke Freeman off in Forest's draw with Stoke, and although he may be back available this weekend, the most likely starter on the right wing is Anthony Knockaert.

Hughton trialled Filip Krovinovic out wide against the Potters, but he is expected to move back into the middle with teenager Alex Mighten coming back in on the left.

Grabban has scored in two successive games for the first time all season – he has not netted in three in a row since December 2018.

Sheffield Wednesday possible starting lineup:
Westwood; Hutchinson, Urhoghide, Borner; Palmer, Pelupessy, Bannan, Reach; Windass, Rhodes, Harris

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


SM words green background

We say: Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 Nottingham Forest

This seems like a fairly ideal game for Wednesday. Forest look to already be on the metaphorical beach and struggle to score, so we expect the Owls and their usually tight defence to earn a vital win. As this game is the Saturday lunchtime kickoff, they will then watch on nervously as Derby travel to Swansea at 3pm.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com 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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How you voted: Sheff Weds vs Nott'm Forest

Sheffield Wednesday
64.4%
Draw
15.6%
Nottingham Forest
20.0%
45
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Middlesborough's Yannick Bolasie scores their first goal against Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship on April 24, 2021
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Jamie Smith refusing to give up in Sheffield Wednesday survival fight
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