PNE v Forest; A Vital Match Preview
Saturday, 23rd December 2017.
Mark Warburton's Nottingham Forest take on Alex Neil`s Preston at Deepdale in this afternoon`s Championship fixture.
Forest`s Manager, Mark Warburton, gave his pre-match thoughts at Friday`s Press conference:
' We have lost the vast majority of our games away from home. There is frustration from good performances and good halves of football, but that is not enough.
We have made some sloppy mistakes and conceded soft goals, so we have to be more consistent over the course of 90 minutes. There are no excuses but there is a sense of frustration that our performances haven't often brought the points that they often deserve. It is about getting points on the board; it is about results and Saturday will be a tough game against a good team, with good players, but we are very much looking forward to it.
I hope that the players use their frustration and channel it wisely because they know how good they can be and that they have done it for long spells in games.'
Preston North End Team News:
Alex Neil will be unable to call upon the services of Josh Earl, Tommy Spurr, Greg Cunningham and Sean Maguire - whilst Darnell Fisher is also unlikely to feature having picked up a hip injury in last weeks victory over Sheffield United.
Player to watch: Jordan Hugill
The 25 year old striker has netted 9 in 22 appearances so far this season, with 29 goals in 69 appearance for PNE, since joining them from Port Vale in June 2014.
The powerful centre forward scored the only goal in both of the last 2 home wins, so he is certainly one that Forest`s defence need to watch!
Nottingha,m Forest Team News:
Tendayi Darikwa, Jack Hobbs, Danny Fox and Chris Cohen all remain absent due to injury, whilst doubts also surround Matt Mills who went off injured in the first half at Ashton Gate.
Armand Traore, Jason Cummings and David Vaughan have all been excluded from the last 2 matchday squads - so, will Warburton opt to play a natural left back or will he start Ben Osborn in that position.
Apostolos Vellios has not made a single league appearance for Forest this season and no doubt he's sit this one out too!
Player to watch: Keiran Dowell
The 20 year old loanee from Everton is Forest`s top scorer with 8 goals in 25 league & cup appearances. Dowell has scored in both of the last 2 away games, but both sadly in losing causes.
Match Facts & Stats
Neil`s PNE are 9th in the table with 35 points from 22 games (w9, d8, l5) scoring 26 but conceding just 22.
The Lilywhites are undefeated in their last 6 games, with 4 wins and 2 draws - they have not ce=onceded a goal at home in their last 3 matches.
Forest lost their 12th game of the season at Ashton Gate, primarily due to another below par performance in the first half. The Reds have dropped to 12th, with 30 points from their 22 games (w10, d0, l12), scoring 32 but their defensive woes remain, with 37 goals conceded already.
Warburton`s men have lost 4 of their last 6 games and have lost their last 4 away from home - the last away win was at Hull on 28th October.
Scott Duncan has been appointed as this afternoon`s Referee, his 23rd game in charge this season, the previous 22 games have seen him award 60 yellow and 4 red cards. Last season officiated 38 games, which saw him dish out 113 yellows and 10 red cards.
Mr Duncan will be assisted by Philip Dermott and Shaun Hudson, with Geoff Eltringham as Fourth Official.
With just 2 defeats at home all season, the Bookies understandably have North End as odds on favourites for a home win, which given Forest`s away record seems a fair bet!
None of the last 62 league matches between these sides have ended goalless - the last one was 107 years ago in March 1910 and that run is highly likely to continue, but could today be the day that Forest get their first draw of the season (hope so!). Both games last season finished 1-1.
Forest welcome Sheffield Wednesday to the City Ground on Boxing Day (Tuesday) KO 3-00pm.