Nottingham Forest vs Sheffield Wednesday Preview: Can Reds end the Owls' winning streak?

Nottingham Forest vs Sheffield Wednesday Preview: Can Reds end the Owls' winning streak?

Nottingham Forest will be looking to get back to winning ways under Gary Brazil as they take on play-off chasing Sheffield Wednesday at The City Ground on Saturday afternoon.

Sam Straw

The last week or so has been a reality check for Gary Brazil's side as after winning the first three matches out of four, his side have now lost two consecutive Championship matches on the road. 

The biggest concern for Forest is how the defence has gone from looking solid, to conceding eight goals in just two games. Five of these came in a dismal afternoon at Carrow Road as the Reds were beaten 5-1 by Norwich City

Carlos Carvahal's Sheffield Wednesday are playing some superb football at the moment and have won their last three league matches. They will be extremely tough opposition for Forest on Saturday afternoon as they look to secure a place in the play-offs. 

How they've fared so far

Forest fans will be just looking to end this season with their Championship status still intact after another turbulent campaign. The whole takeover saga has now finally ended but their is still a whole host of unanswered questions surrounding the club.

Gary Brazil was appointed as manager for the rest of the season by owner Fawaz Al-Hasawi after picking up three wins from his first four matches in charge. However, in their last two games they have had a hard reality check as they were beaten both 5-1 by Norwich and 3-2 away at Fulham in mid-week. 

These two defeats have put Forest right back amongst the relegation scrap and raised worries about their future once again. Only seven points separates them and Wigan Athletic who find themselves in the final relegation spot after their shock 1-0 away win at Wolves in mid-week. Forest's clash with Wigan at the DW Stadium next week, is already looking like it will be a pivotal fixture. 

Forest have proved that they do have enough quality amongst their ranks to avoid the drop. They made several quality additions in the January transfer window including the likes of Zach Clough and Ross McCormack. Once these players find their feet, they should massively aid Forest's push for survival. 

As for Sheffield Wednesday, they are experiencing yet another successful season under talented manager Carlos Carvahal. Many expected Wednesday to be challenging for automatic promotion this season after narrowly losing out to Hull City in the Championship play-off final last campaign. 

Wednesday had a relatively slow start to the campaign but have now found their stride and are currently one of the most in-form teams in the division. However, it is their exceptional home form which has got them in the position they are which will give Forest hope they can get a result on Saturday afternoon. 

The Owls won their last away game 1-0 against Wigan at the DW Stadium a couple of weeks ago but before that they had not won an away game since they picked up a shock 1-0 win against Newcastle United on Boxing Day. Their inconsistent away form together with Forest's 100% home record so far under Gary Brazil, suggest an interesting match could be on the cards.

Wednesday are currently sat 6th in the table, four points ahead of Norwich in 7th place. They will be looking to extend this gap further on Saturday afternoon. However, they are unlikely to underestimate Forest and have a good recent record against the Reds.

Last time they met 

Forest last played Sheffield Wednesday in a 2-1 defeat at Hillsborough back in September. Forest were playing well under Philippe Montanier at the time and went a goal up through a superb long-range strike from Henri Lansbury. However, a Kieran Lee double, including a stoppage time winner secured all three points for the Owls. 

Wednesday got the better of Forest both home and away last season. They managed to win 1-0 at Hillsborough before winning 3-0 at The City Ground a few months later.

Team news

Forest have got Eric Lichaj back from suspension after he missed the mid-week defeat to Fulham after picking up two yellow cards in the 5-1 defeat to Norwich just days before. He will be a welcome boost to Gary Brazil and will allow a lot more balance to the defence. 

Gary Brazil may have a selection headache in regards to who to start attacking wise for the Reds on Saturday. Ben Brereton was the best player on the pitch for Forest on Tuesday night and has put in a strong argument for him maintaining his position in the starting line-up. However, Brazil may be tempted to bring Britt Assombalonga back into the team who was left on the bench against Fulham. 

As for Sheffield Wednesday, they do not expect Tom Lees to be fit enough to make the trip to Nottingham. However, there is an outside chance that Gary Hooper could be fit to boost their attacking arsenal even further.