Nottingham Forest vs Blackburn Rovers Preview: Reds look to take one huge step towards safety

Nottingham Forest face a huge clash at the bottom of The Championship as they take on struggling Blackburn Rovers at The City Ground on Friday afternoon. 

The Reds have put in some very impressive performances so far under new manager Mark Warburton and beat promotion challengers Huddersfield Town 2-0 last time out in their best performance of the season. 

Blackburn did show an initial response to the appointment of Tony Mowbray, but this has faded of late as they now find themselves staring at the prospect of relegation to League 1

How they've fared so far

There appears to be a feeling of positivity around The City Ground which has not been present for some time. The four performances under Warburton so far have all been very promising and survival now seems to be close.

Owner Fawaz Al-Hasawi seems to have taken a step back allowing Warburton and Director of Football Frank McParland to get on with their jobs. The big test for this relationship will be in the summer with bids for some of Forest's most influential players bound to come in. 

Despite Forest playing well in Warburton's first three games in charge against Derby County, Preston North End and Wolverhampton Wanderers, they only managed to come out from those games with two points. 

The turning point came last Saturday as Forest dominated from start to finish against a Huddersfield team who sit third in the league table. Forest would have beaten anybody in the league with that performance and it is three points that are huge boost towards their survival bid. 

As for Blackburn, they are in huge trouble as they come into this Easter weekend with two huge fixtures against Forest on Friday and then against Bristol City on Easter Monday at Ewood Park

In Mowbray's 10 games in charge of Rovers so far, they have managed to pick up two wins, five draws and three defeats. These three defeats have come in their last three outings against Brighton & Hove Albion, Reading and Barnsley with none being particularly shameful.

However, the 2-0 defeat to Barnsley on Saturday will have been particularly damaging to the spirit amongst the squad, especially considering both goals were conceded within the first 10 minutes. This has left Rovers four points off Bristol City who sit in 21st place.

Damien Perquis did pull one back for Forest back in October. (picture: Getty Images / Mick Walker - CameraSport)
Damien Perquis did pull one back for Forest back in October. (picture: Getty Images / Mick Walker - CameraSport)

Last time they met

Forest last played Blackburn Rovers earlier on in the season in a 2-1 defeat at Ewood Park in October. Southampton loanee Sam Gallagher both goals for Rovers before Damien Perquis pulled one back in injury time for the Reds.

Hilderberto Pereira also got sent off late on for Forest for a second bookable offence within the last minute of the game. It was yet another dismal away day for Philippe Montanier's men.  

Team news 

Forest's squad is looking relatively healthy so far with Warburton having a host of options to choose from all over the pitch. Danny Fox is back from suspension and Jack Hobbs is also pushing for a place in the starting line-up after returning from injury.

In comparison, Rovers are experiencing an injury crisis with Mowbray stating he is no longer concerned about the situation and will just pick the best team he can.

Rovers are likely to be without defenders Charlie Mulgrew and Darragh Lenihan. In addition to this, their main goal threat in Danny Graham is also a doubt for the game which would be a huge blow.