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FA Cup | Third Round
Jan 7, 2024 at 2pm UK
The City Ground
B

Nott'm Forest
2 - 2
Blackpool

Dominguez (39'), Gibbs-White (56')
Tavares (72')
FT(HT: 1-2)
Gabriel (25'), Morgan (27')
Husband (35'), Casey (45+3'), Morgan (71'), Connolly (78'), Grimshaw (90+4')

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

:Headline: Preview: Nottingham Forest vs. Blackpool - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's FA Cup clash between Nottingham Forest and Blackpool, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Exactly 365 days on from locking horns in the third round of the 2022-23 FA Cup, Nottingham Forest and Blackpool renew hostilities at the same stage of the 2023-24 edition at the City Ground on Sunday.

While Nuno Espirito Santo's Tricky Trees enter the FA Cup at this stage, their League One foes have already bested Bromley and Forest Green Rovers to set up back-to-back third-round meetings with their hosts.


Match preview

The cut-throat decision to fire Steve Cooper was not a wholly popular one with the Nottingham Forest faithful, but just three games into his tenure, former Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur boss Santo is vindicating the board's call.

After overseeing an unjust 3-2 loss to Bournemouth in his inaugural game in charge, Santo has since masterminded exceptional beatings of Newcastle United and Manchester United, the latter of whom succumbed to Nicolas Dominguez and Morgan Gibbs-White strikes either side of a Marcus Rashford response.

Whether Forest's mini-revival is a simple case of the customary new manager bounce remains to be seen, but the Reds' recent upturn in form has allowed them to establish a five-point lead over the relegation zone in the Premier League table, although they are hardly home and hosed in 15th spot.

The bottom-half scrap can wait while a spot in the fourth round of the FA Cup is on the line, though, and Forest have only been beaten in one of their last three third-round matches, although that did come in a 4-1 humbling at the hands of Blackpool last year.

Rashford's consolation effort for Man United on December 30 also means that Nottingham Forest are without a clean sheet in nine straight matches, but they had prevailed in five successive FA Cup contests at the City Ground before their impressive 2021-22 run came to an end with a quarter-final loss to Liverpool.

As astounding as Blackpool's cup crushing of Forest last year was, Tangerines boss Neil Critchley - who was not even in the dugout for that game - will no doubt stress that last January's third-round success will mean little against Santo's reinvigorated unit this time around.

Blackpool have already had to navigate their way past Bromley and Forest Green to set up a reunion with the Garibaldi, although they experienced few roadblocks en route to round three, scoring five goals and conceding none across those two victories.

Defeats to Burton Albion and Port Vale during the festive period slightly spoiled the Christmas celebrations at Bloomfield Road, but Critchley's men made it five wins on the bounce at home on New Year's Day, when Oliver Casey's header and CJ Hamilton's late strike secured a 2-0 League One win over Lincoln City.

Hovering just outside the playoff places in eighth spot, Blackpool are now bidding to reach the fourth round of the FA Cup in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1971, but amid their stellar streak of home form, the third-tier visitors lost all three of their road contests in December.

Last season's 4-1 FA Cup pummelling ended a five-game winless run for Blackpool against Nottingham Forest, who did the double over the Tangerines in the 2021-22 Championship campaign and have not been beaten at the City Ground by their upcoming opponents since 2013.

Nottingham Forest form (all competitions):


Blackpool FA Cup form:


Blackpool form (all competitions):


Team News

No other Premier League club boasts as many as Nottingham Forest's six African Cup of Nations representatives, as all of Willy Boly, Cheikhou Kouyate, Serge Aurier, Ibrahim Sangare, Ola Aina and Moussa Niakhate are away with their respective countries for the next few weeks.

Taiwo Awoniyi (groin), Felipe (calf) and Anthony Elanga (knock) have also been ruled out of the contest, while Morgan Gibbs-White has also emerged as a doubt due to a dead leg, and Divock Origi's groin is giving him grief too.

With all of Aina, Niakhate and Boly competing for continental glory, Joe Worrall and Harry Toffolo - fresh from a contract extension - are primed to return to the fold, although forgotten Arsenal loanee Nuno Tavares will be among those hoping to come back in from the cold and could even start on the wing amid Forest's fresh injury woes.

In contrast, Blackpool have been unaffected by the period of international call-ups and have also recalled 20-year-old striker Rob Apter from a successful loan spell with Tranmere Rovers, but the Scotland youth international is cup-tied for Sunday's game.

Critchley was forced to withdraw defender Callum Connolly from the win over Lincoln due to a sickness bug, which has also claimed Marvin Ekpiteta and Jordan Lawrence-Gabriel, although the former was able to come on for the dazed Connolly on New Year's Day.

Fellow defender Matthew Pennington is also a doubt after sustaining a concussion in the Boxing Day loss to Burton Albion, while Shayne Lavery and Kylian Kouassi remain sidelined with hamstring problems.


Nottingham Forest possible starting lineup:
Vlachodimos; Williams, Worrall, Murillo, Toffolo; Danilo, Yates; Hudson-Odoi, Dominguez, Tavares; Wood

Blackpool possible starting lineup:
Grimshaw; Ekipteta, Casey, Husband; Hamilton, Morgan, Dembele, Virtue, Dale; Joseph, Rhodes


We say: Nottingham Forest 2-0 Blackpool

Sunday's visitors may possess extremely fond memories of their most recent clash against Nottingham Forest, but under Santo at the City Ground, the Tricky Trees should be a different proposition entirely.

Given the Tangerines' recent struggles away from Bloomfield Road, we anticipate Critchley's men falling short against their top-tier hosts, who may have vengeance on their minds too.


For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.


Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home 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 Win:data


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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CManchester CityMan City38287396346291
2Arsenal38285591296289
3Liverpool382410486414582
4Aston Villa382081076611568
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs382061274611366
6Chelsea381891177631463
7Newcastle UnitedNewcastle381861485622360
8Manchester UnitedMan Utd38186145758-160
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham381410146074-1452
10Crystal Palace381310155758-149
11Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton381212145562-748
12Bournemouth38139165467-1348
13Fulham38138175561-647
14Wolverhampton WanderersWolves38137185065-1546
15Everton38139164051-1140
16Brentford38109195665-939
17Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest3899204967-1832
RLuton TownLuton3868245285-3326
RBurnley3859244178-3724
RSheffield UnitedSheff Utd38372835104-6916
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