Nottingham Forest manager Aitor Karanka has told the Nottingham Post that he is not expecting an easy game against 16th placed League One side Burton Albion, as the two clubs face each other in tonight’s Carabao Cup clash.
Nottingham Forest head to the Pirelli Stadium tonight to play against Burton Albion for a place in the Quarter Finals of the Carabao Cup – which would be the first time in 25 years The Reds have progressed to the last eight of the competition.
Burton Albion – who were condemned to relegation from the Championship because of Forest’s final day loss to Bolton Wanderers – haven’t started life back in League One well. Nigel Clough’s side had started to build up a decent run of form, in which they remained unbeaten for three games, until Steve Evans’ Peterborough United visited last Saturday, defeating Burton 2-1.
Forest, on the other hand, have lost just one game in their last 10, and arrive at the Pirelli on the back of a 1-1 draw against promotion rivals Leeds United. Karanka’s side sit in 7th place, two points behind rivals Derby County in the Championship Play-Off places.
“It is going to be a tough game on the pitch and it is going to be a tough game in the dugouts,” Karanka told the Nottingham Post.
“I spent a few minutes with him (Clough) last season after the game, which was really good.
“I know how important he, and especially his father, are to this club, but for those 90 minutes I am sure he will forget what Nottingham Forest means to him.
“But I would like to visit him again after the game – with a win.”
The Spaniard went on to praise Albion manager Clough, and believes he has been doing a good job at the Pirelli Stadium despite the challenging circumstances.
“I think he has been doing really well.
“Last season they got relegated and now they are fighting again. I think they have lost a few players, which is always difficult.
“But for sure, he is a good manager and he will be in a better position in the future because he does really well. They came close to staying up. And with that team, to be fighting all the way to the end, he did really well.
“Tonight will be even tougher than the league games because we are in a good round in the cup and for Burton it will be a very important game too. They will want to beat us, for sure.
“We played against them last season in the Championship and it was tough. We know how tough this team is so I am expecting a tough game.”
Despite being clear favourites for tonight’s game, Karanka wants to remain focused on the upcoming game, rather than looking to a potential Quarter-Final match.
“I think we need to think about the game tonight first.
“If we go there thinking we are already in the following round before we have played the game, we are making a big mistake.
“We know how tough it was to beat Bury in the cup. People thought we would win that game easy, but we had problems until the last second. Newcastle and Stoke were the same.
“If we go to Burton thinking it is going to be easy because they are in League One, we are making a big mistake.
“I think it is an important game, because to be in the quarter-finals of the League Cup would be great, especially if you haven’t been there for the last 25 years.
“I have always said that I want to win every single game. It is going to be really difficult, but if we win tomorrow, we will be in the next round and around some teams not just in this league but those in the Premier League.”