Nottingham Forest face a challenging but exciting opportunity to advance their promotion hopes when they visit West Brom at The Hawthorns today lunchtime.
Indeed, the Baggies should be in confident moodm having got their own promotion campaign back on track with three consecutive league wins, taking their lead at the top of the table to six points. That leaves them eight points clear of Forest, who have the chance to close the gap on Fulham and Leeds, who are both tied on 56 points, two more than Sabri Lamouchi’s side.
Although they lost in midweek to Charlton, it has been some turnaround over the last few weeks from Forest, picking up 20 points from a possible 30 to get right back in amongst the promotion race. Rivals are taking notice of their strong form, too, including West Brom manager Slaven Bilic, who has been full of praise for the Reds prior to today’s clash.
Speaking to West Brom’s official website, he said:
“They are a team among those eight clubs who are really challenging not just for the Play-Offs but also for automatic promotion.
“They are very solid, they are compact, they are very difficult to break down. They defend in numbers really well but at the same time they are top in transitions.
“They have players who can hurt you. It’s not a surprise that they are where they are, Sabri Lamouchi has done a very good job this season.”
A quick glance at the Championship table shows the evidence for Bilic’s comments.
Nottingham Forest have conceded just 31 goals in 32 games, the third-lowest amount of any team in the division, and in Lewis Grabban and Joe Lolley they possess two key threats. In the league alone, that pair have scored 23 goals and assisted seven between them. That means they can cause problems for any opposition when on form, whilst the likes of Samba Sow and Matty Cash have also impressed this term, with respective WhoScored average ratings of 7.1 and 7.2.
Bilic remarks upon the defensive strength of Forest and that is an aspect of their game that could prove vital in their visit to The Hawthorns, as West Brom have scored the most goals in the Championship this term with 57 goals in 32 games.
Still, the likes of Matheus Pereira and Matt Phillips are likely to start and Forest’s ability to stop them will be significant in deciding the outcome of the match.
They have made 17 and 13 goal contributions respectively but, given the Reds have earned clean sheets against other attacking teams like Brentford and Leeds recently, they stand a good chance of adding points to the board this afternoon.
How do you rate your team’s chances of taking something from the match Forest fans? Are you happy that Bilic has recognised your team in such a way and do you think his assessment is correct? Comment below with your views!
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