Nottingham Forest continue their fight for Premier League survival against Crystal Palace at the City Ground.
Victory would see Forest climb off the foot of the table for a few hours at minimum, whilst Palace can climb to sixth if results elsewhere swing in their favour.
Orel Mangala is suspended for Forest after he was booked in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup victory against Tottenham.
Giulian Biancone (knee), Harry Toffolo (hamstring), Moussa Niakhate (thigh) and Omar Richards (leg) remain absent.
Palace could welcome striker, Odsonne Edouard back into contention after he missed their last two games with a knock.
Wilfried Zaha and Eberechi Eze could return after they were both rested in midweek but Chris Richards (leg) and James McArthur (groin) both remain absent.
- Forest are unbeaten in four previous Premier League meetings against Crystal Palace (W2, D2).
- Palace failed to win in each of their two previous Premier League trips to Forest (D1, L1), having drawn 1-1 in March 1993 then lost 1-0 in January 1995.
- There have been no red cards in four previous Premier League meetings between Forest and Palace.
- Forest’ Brennan Johnson has converted just two of his eight shots on target into goals.
- Palace have scored just two goals in their last four away matches in the Premier League, which both came in a comeback win at West Ham last weekend.
Having finally found some solid home form in recent weeks, Forest certainly seem to be finally clicking as a unit because they were just impressive in their energy and hunger to beat Spurs on Wednesday, although their task now has to be to bring that momentum into this clash.
Should Steve Cooper manage to get his players to extract that positivity and apply themselves here, they certainly can head into the mid-season break confident of mounting a strong fight for survival otherwise they will need to use the off-time to regroup ahead of a long second-half of season.
Palace meanwhile didn’t disgrace themselves in Wednesday’s competitive goalless draw at Newcastle – only to lose on penalties – despite fielding a weakened team, yet were wasteful in their end product so I do expect a strong response with Zaha and Eze set to return.
This clash therefore has the ingredients to be quite an interesting encounter because Forest will be eager to frustrate a third London-based team in seven days at home, whilst Palace will surely be looking to head into the break on a high with a top-ten placing.
A draw though wouldn’t feel like a surprise but Palace’s away form hasn’t exactly been strong lately, so I do fancy Forest to nick it.
Prediction: Nottingham Forest 1-0 Crystal Palace
Result: Nottingham Forest 1-0 Crystal Palace