The City Ground, Saturday 3rd May 2014 12:15 Kick Off
Form(Last 8 Championship games)
Nottingham Forest: LWWLDLDL
- Forest enter Saturday’s fixture with nothing to play for but pride after a crushing 4-1 defeat to Bournemouth, which leaves them 11th in the table. Brighton, on the other hand, are unbeaten in 7 games after a steady run of results which has seen them rise to just a point shy of the play-offs.
- The early season encounter between the two sides ended 3-1 to the Reds as they came from one behind to defeat the Seagulls. A Henri Lansbury brace and Darius Henderson strike saw Forest to victory at the Amex.
- If Brighton can better Reading’s result at the weekend they will move into the end of season lottery to play Derby across two legs. The best Forest can hope for with a victory is an 8th placed finish in this anti-climatic season for the Reds, however a win Saturday would be a nice way to end for Caretaker boss Gary Brazil.
Forest fans have had to endure some real disasters this season, therefore it was only fitting that they put on a half hearted display away at Bournemouth to end any slight chance of making the play-offs. The team lacked hunger, passion and, most importantly, quality at the Goldsands. The absence of many key players has been a recurring theme throughout this season and has now, finally, got the better of Forest. With half a back up team starting week in week out it’s no surprise that this season has eventually ended in disappointment for the Reds.
Despite the doom and gloom there are some positives for Stuart Pearce to grasp on to upon entering the job. Recently, promising youngsters Jamaal Lascelles, Ben Osborn and Jamie Paterson have all signed long term deals to keep them at the City Ground. Pearce will also know that there is some real quality in this Forest squad, should they keep fit. With the return of Captain Chris Cohen, Andy Reid (who was recently named in the Championship Team of the Year) and Henri Lansbury, the former Reds Legend can build around what he already has. It promises to be an exciting and promising campaign for Forest under Stuart ‘Psycho’ Pearce.
Saturday’s game doesn’t hold any real significance for Forest. However, some will be out there playing for their futures at the club and there should be a desire to win every game. In my opinion, they should go into the game with an attacking approach and really take the game to Brighton. They should try and put on a show for the fans, who really haven’t had much to cheer about in the last few months.
Brighton have been floating around the play-offs for a few months now but have struggled to gain the consistency needed to secure a top six place. Therefore, they go into Saturday’s game as slight underdogs to gain that final spot and really need to attain all three points to pose a real threat to Reading. Oscar Garcia has brought in a solidity to Brighton’s play which is shown by them conceding just 39 goals this campaign, second only to Premier League bound Burnley. The return of Leo Ulloa has provided the boost in goals which was desperately needed to propel Albion up the league. The Argentine has found the net an impressive 15 times this season.
Brighton’s inconsistency has been highlighted over the last few weeks as thumping wins away at Leicester and then at home to Charlton were followed by score draws to lowly Blackpool and Huddersfield. Even last Friday’s 2-0 victory over Yeovil was far from convincing, but at this stage of the season the important factor is the three points, which they gratefully received. With the departure of Gus Poyet last summer many expected Brighton to fall away from the top half of the table this year, but Garcia has done a fine job in his first season in English football. He has adapted well and provided Brighton with a realistic chance of promotion, even if they fail that this year expect the Seagulls to be challenging in the 2o14-2015 season.
This encounter at the City Ground is decisive for Brighton. I expect a tight affair as I believe Forest will fail to deliver enough attacking prowess to de stable the commanding Albion back line. Brighton can cause Forest problems with the quality of players they possess and that should be enough to overcome a make shift Reds defence. I’m certain the Seagulls fans will travel to Nottingham full of hope and expectancy in what could be a joyous occasion for the Sussex club.
As I previously mentioned I think that Forest won’t have the guile to surpass the Brighton back four and, with the season all over for the Reds, Albion should have enough to keep their play-off hopes alive. I think the score will be 2-0 Brighton.