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Apr 24, 2021 at 3pm UK
Nott'm ForestNottingham Forest
StokeStoke City
Grabban (50')
Ribeiro (80')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Matondo (27')
Smith (33')

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

:Headline: Preview: Nottingham Forest vs. Stoke City - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship clash between Nottingham Forest and Stoke City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Nottingham Forest welcome Stoke City to the City Ground looking for the victory which will guarantee their Championship status for another 12 months.

Meanwhile, the Potters head into this encounter on the back of four games without success, leaving the club at risk of ending the campaign in the bottom half of the standings.

Match preview

When Stoke thrashed Forest in this fixture on the final day of last season, it seemingly epitomised the changing trajectories of both sides.

That feeling was strengthened for the majority of this campaign, but Stoke's recent poor form has left them at risk of being overtaken by their hosts.

Since September, Stoke have been regarded as contenders for the playoffs, while Forest have had to battle hard to move away from the relegation zone.

However, the gap between the sides is now just six points, a consequence of Michael O'Neill's team winning just three of their last 14 fixtures.

Forest have not fared much better with four victories being recorded in 13 outings, although Chris Hughton deserves credit for moving a team short of belief away from danger.

With Sheffield Wednesday and Preston North End to follow, there is a window of opportunity for Forest to significantly improve on their current 18th position.

In sharp contrast, finishing any lower than 13th spot may tempt the Stoke hierarchy into another change of direction during the summer.

While success in the East Midlands would change the mood at the bet365 Stadium, defeat would heap the pressure on O'Neill ahead of meetings with in-form Queens Park Rangers and Bournemouth.

On the plus side for Stoke, three of Jacob Brown's five goals this season have come since March 20.

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

Stoke City Championship form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • L

Team News

Hughton could make a number of changes to his Forest XI, bringing in the likes of Anthony Knockaert and Lewis Grabban.

Depending on whether Hughton wants fresh legs in midfield, Cafu may also get the nod ahead of Ryan Yates or Joe Garner.

After Stoke's poor display against Coventry City, O'Neill could switch to a back four with Harry Souttar able to replace the injured James Chester.

John Obi Mikel and Steven Fletcher are expected to return to the starting lineup, taking the places of Josh Tymon and Christian Norton.

Having failed to make an impact during the last four fixtures, Nick Powell could drop to the substitutes' bench.

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

Stoke City possible starting lineup:
Gunn; Smith, Souttar, Batth, Norrington-Davies; Clucas, Mikel, Thompson; Brown, Fletcher, Matondo

We say: Nottingham Forest 1-0 Stoke City

With both teams out of form, this contest is unlikely to develop into a classic. Nevertheless, Forest are performing better in the defensive third of the pitch, and they may have the quality at the other end to take advantage of Stoke's lack of confidence.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 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.Under 3.5:data

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Championship Table
CNorwich CityNorwich45299773343996
4Swansea CitySwansea4523111156371980
8Cardiff CityCardiff4518131465481767
9Queens Park RangersQPR451811165454065
12Luton TownLuton451711174049-962
13Preston North EndPreston45177214755-858
14Stoke CityStoke451415164852-457
15Blackburn RoversBlackburn451412196052854
16Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest451216173643-752
17Coventry CityCoventry451313194360-1752
18Birmingham CityBirmingham451313193556-2152
19Bristol City45156244565-2051
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield451212214869-2148
21Derby CountyDerby451110243355-2243
22Rotherham UnitedRotherham45118264359-1641
23Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds451210233758-2140
24Wycombe WanderersWycombe451010253669-3340
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