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

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

Watford will host Nottingham Forest in the Championship on Saturday lunchtime hoping to move into the automatic promotion places for the first time since early November.

Meanwhile, Forest have won four away league games so far in 2021, one more than they managed in 21 away matches in 2020.

Match preview

Watford's Andre Gray celebrates scoring against Wycombe Wanderers in the Championship on March 3, 2021© Reuters

Watford bounced back from last weekend's defeat at Bournemouth as they comfortably beat basement club Wycombe Wanderers 2-0 at Vicarage Road on Wednesday night.

A brace from Andre Gray sealed their 18th league win of the campaign and moved the Hornets level on points with second-placed Brentford, with an automatic promotion place in their sights following the Bees losing away at league leaders Norwich City.

Since his appointment as head coach just before Christmas, Xisco has won nine of his 14 league matches in charge, which has kept the Hornets in the hunt for an immediate return to the Premier League.

After Saturday's match, Watford's next six fixtures are against teams either fighting for survival or challenging for a playoff spot, so they will be aware that their standards must not slip if they are to consolidate their own top-six place or break into the automatic promotion positions.

The Hornets have only lost one of their previous nine meetings with Forest in all competitions, and they have also scored in eight of their last nine games against them.

Victory for Watford this weekend could see them switch places with Brentford if they were to lose at home to Rotherham United.

Nottingham Forest's Alex Mighten celebrates after scoring their first goal on February 20, 2021© Reuters

Forest's fears of relegation have eased in recent weeks after accumulating 14 points from a possible 21 available, but Wednesday's 1-0 loss at home to Luton Town has Chris Hughton's side looking over their shoulders once again.

The Reds are currently in 16th, eight points clear of the drop zone, although the bottom three all have up to two games in hand.

Forest face a difficult run of fixtures which will see them face four of the Championship's top five in succession, starting with Watford, who they have beaten only three times in their last 15 meetings against them; they did, however, frustrate the Hornets earlier this campaign as they played out a goalless draw at the City Ground in December.

Hughton is aware that points need to be gained from this difficult run if they are to avoid a slide back down the table and into a potential relegation scrap.

Securing three points this weekend would provide a huge boost to Forest, who could move to within two points of the top 10.

Watford Championship form: WWWWLW

Nottingham Forest Championship form: DLWWDL

Team News

Will Hughes celebrates scoring for Watford against Derby County in the Championship on February 19, 2021© Reuters

Watford midfielders Tom Cleverley and Dan Gosling are both set to miss the match through injury, while Colombian international Carlos Sanchez, who joined the club this week, is not available to make his debut this weekend.

Nathaniel Chalobah is to serve the final game of his two-match suspension after collecting 10 yellow cards this season, but forward Joao Pedro is back from his one-game ban and is in contention to start.

As for Forest, striker Lewis Grabban is still struggling with a hamstring injury and has yet to return to first-team training, while midfielder Ryan Yates is a doubt with a calf problem.

Winger Sammy Ameobi, who came on as a substitute against Luton, could be in Hughton's thoughts for a starting spot this weekend ahead of either Joe Lolley or Anthony Knockaert.

Watford possible starting lineup:
Bachmann; Femenia, Sierralta, Troost-Ekong, Masina; Sarr, Hughes, Zinckernagel, Sema; Gray, Pedro

Nottingham Forest possible starting lineup:
Samba; Christie, Worrall, Figueiredo, Ribeiro; Garner, Cafu; Knockaert, Krovinovic, Ameobi; Murray

SM words green background

We say: Watford 2-0 Nottingham Forest

December's 0-0 draw between Watford and Forest saw just one shot on target in the whole match, so the two teams will be hoping that this weekend's game will be a much more entertaining encounter.

Forest were able to frustrate the Hornets last time out, but we can see Xisco's men claiming all three points on Saturday and putting more pressure on both Brentford and Swansea, who are also vying for a top-two spot.

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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