Preston v Forest - FA Cup 4th Round Replay Preview
Nottingham Forest travel to Deepdale for the FA Cup with Budweiser 4th Round Replay - knowing the winner will now face a 5th Round trip to Bramall Lane to face Nigel Clough`s Blades.
The original tie ended in a 0-0 City Ground stalemate with Forest failing to reach their previous footballing performance standards against Simon Grayson`s determined Preston side, who have their own League 1 Promotion aspirations.
The game will be screened live at 7.45pm on BT Sports, with the potential for another televised cup upset on the cards - despite the Lilywhite`s Manager, Simon Grayson, insisting the home side are "underdogs".
Former PNE manager, Billy Davies, is certain to face a frosty reception on his return to Deepdale, although with the focus on Billy, this may free up Forest to be a little more fluent - that said, the weather may have it`s own impact on this one with the forecast looking decidedly grim.
Both sides will go into the fixture in confident mood; Forest are unbeaten in 13 and Preston with only 1 defeat in 10, unbeaten in 5 and having already beaten Championship side Ipswich after a 3rd Round Replay at Deepdale.
Last time out, Preston beat Nottingham neighbours Notts County 2-0 at Deepdale, with goals from Joe Garner and debutant, Craig Davies. Forest beat a resilient Yeovil Town 3-1 at the City Ground, with goals from Simon Cox, debutant Rafik Djebbour and Byron Webster`s OG.
Craig Davies, the striker signed on loan from Bolton, is cup tied - so that is likely to see Kevin Davies return to the starting line up, having served his three-game suspension. Preston are also likely to be without the injured Josh Brownhill - other than that Grayson has few injury concerns.
Forest remain without long term absentees Chris Cohen, Dexter Blackstock and Kelvin Wilson. Although he was not eligible to play in this replay, David Vaughan has also now joined the long term injury list with a fractured kneecap.
Forest`s other January signings, Danny Fox, Jack Hobbs, Rafik Djebbour and Kevin Gomis will also be ineligible to play in the replay.
Henri Lansbury was not eligible for the original tie, but having completed his own 2 game suspension for accumulating 10 yellows, he will be looking at a starting berth. Eric Lichaj may also return to the side after recovering from the knock that kept him out of the Yeovil game - so Billy Davies may look to shuffle the pack to ensure he keeps the squad fresh.
Simon Cox has scored 3 in his last 2 games, so he will want to retain his starting place, although the competition for Billy Davies`s favoured sole striker line up is fierce.
The match will be referee`d by Jonathan Moss, who has officiated 23 games this season, none of which have featured Forest or PNE. He has dished out 76 yellow & 2 red cards. For those on suspension watch, Darius Henderson, Andy Reid & Dan Harding all have 4 yellows to their names.
This is another banana skin type fixture for Forest, who will start as marginal favourites by the bookies - but you won`t get good odds on the home side who have FA Cup form. Once again, I`ll risk the nipper`s pocket money on 1-1 after 90 minutes - thereafter, it`s lottery, which no doubt neither team would prefer to endure given their respective promotion hopes.
Come On You Reds!!!