Nottingham Forest and manager Philippe Montanier face what looks like a must win game on Monday afternoon after five games without a win against the likes of Derby, Preston, Wolves and Huddersfield. Friday’s 3-1 defeat to Newcastle continued to pile the pressure on Montanier.
How they’ve fared so far
Despite another disappointing result to Newcastle last time out, Forest remained in 18th position in the Championship league table. However, the Reds find themselves dangerously close to the relegation zone.
The best Forest can now hope for this season is mid-table mediocrity as they find themselves a huge 15 points off the play-off positions. The defeat at Newcastle was even more disappointing considering they were well in the game at 1-1 until Matt Mills was dismissed by referee Keith Stroud. This made it comfortable for Newcastle to go and secure all three points.
Forest still find themselves five points clear of the relegation zone, only one point less than before the Newcastle defeat. Despite this, all the teams at the bottom are capable of picking up points and Forest will quickly get dragged right into a relegation battle if they don’t start to pick up points soon.
Philippe Montanier has been heavily criticised over recent performances but is having to deal with a very difficult situation. Uncertainty off the field continues with the takeover still not complete and he is also having to deal with continuous injuries and suspensions. This is making it very difficult for him to pick a consistent line-up and pick up results.
As for Barnsley, they are enjoying life in the top-half of the Championship and are in their best run of form so far this season. Since Forest actually beat them 5-2 at Oakwell in November, they have won four out of their six matches propelling them from 17th to 9th in the league.
However, Tykes boss Paul Heckingbottom will be disappointed with their latest result which saw them squander a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 against Birmingham City at Oakwell. A win would have seen them move just four points off the play-off places.
Due to their good run of form and the amount of goals they have been scoring of late, Barnsley will fancy their chances at The City Ground. A weakened Forest defence will no doubt struggle against the Barnsley frontline.
Last time they met
Forest last played Barnsley in a 5-2 win at Oakwell back at the end of November. A hat-trick from captain Henri Lansbury aswell as goals from Apostolos Vellios and Ben Osborn helped Forest on their way to all three points. Winnall and Watkins found the net for the home side before Watkins was dismissed in the second-half.
When Barnsley were last in the Championship in 2013/14, Forest came out 3-2 winners at The City Ground before losing 1-0 at Oakwell a few games before Billy Davies was sacked by Fawaz Al-Hasawi.
Philippe Montanier continues to have a huge number of injuries and suspensions to deal with. The likes of Chris Cohen, Daniel Pinillos, Matty Fryatt, Armand Traore, Danny Fox, Henri Lansbury and more all remain injured.
To add to the huge number of injuries, Forest’s lack of discipline has also cost them in recent games. Matt Mills will serve his suspension for being sent off against Newcastle on Friday. However, Michael Mancienne will return after being suspended for being sent off against Huddersfield on Boxing Day.
Nicolau Dumitru scored his first goal for Forest at Newcastle on Friday night and may get another chance in the starting line-up on Monday afternoon due to Montanier’s limited options.
As for Barnsley, they will be without defender Marc Roberts as he was sent off against Birmingham City for fouling Che Adams.
Apart from that forced change, Heckingbottom is unlikely to make many changes to a team which has been in superb form. This could see the likes of Davies, Bree, MacDonald, Yiadom, Watkins, Morsy, Hourihane, Kent, Winnall and Bradshaw all start on Monday afternoon.