Nottingham Forest vs Millwall Preview: Reds looking to start campaign positively against newly-promoted Lions

Nottingham Forest will be looking to get their Championship season underway with three points as they take on newly-promoted Millwall at The City Ground on Friday night. 

A 3-0 win at home to Ipswich Town on the final day ensured that Forest remained in the division last season and they will be looking to avoid a similar scenario this time out. 

As for Millwall, they enjoyed a superb season under Neil Harris last time out as they won promotion back to the second tier via the League One play-offs. 

How will they fare this season?

Forest supporters endured a horrific campaign last time out as they narrowly managed to avoid relegation by two goals on the final day of the season.

However, a lot has changed over this summer, including the ownership of the club. Greek shipping magnate Evangelos Marinakis ended the disastrous five-year tenure of Fawaz Al-Hasawi and the future now looks a lot brighter for the Reds. 

Forest stayed up on the last day of the season by beating Ipswich 3-0. (picture: Getty Images / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA)
Forest stayed up on the last day of the season by beating Ipswich 3-0. (picture: Getty Images / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA)

Mark Warburton remains the man in the dugout despite the change in ownership and will be aiming for a far higher league finish in the upcoming campaign.

He has made some impressive signings so far including the likes of Jason Cummings, Daryl Murphy, Barrie McKay, Tendayi Darikwa and Andreas Bouchalakis among others all coming in. Their fresh faces all have the potential to be astute additions at this level and it will be interesting to see how they get on.

It appears there will be a big crowd at The City Ground to witness this opening game as an air of positivity surrounds the club. There would certainly be no better way to kick-off the season than with three points to get off the mark straight away. 

As for Millwall, they are also coming into this campaign in a very positive mindset following their promotion last time out.

Gaining promotion through the play-offs is without doubt the best way to do it, especially due to the great celebrations at Wembley which followed. They are set to bring a good following from London for this match and they will be full of optimism. 

33-year-old striker Steve Morison will be looking to impress in the Championship once again after scoring the winning goal at Wembley back in May against Bradford City. Morison is the sort of experienced figure that is needed in every successful side and Harris clearly values his influence in the dressing room. 

The Lions have made a number of additions this summer, but none are particularly well known. The likes of Conor McLaughlinJed WallaceCalum ButcherGregg Wylde and Shaun Hutchinson have all arrived at The Den this summer from Fleetwood TownWolverhampton WanderersBurton AlbionPlymouth Argyle and Fulham respectively.

However, just because they are not well known does not mean that they cannot have a positive impact for Millwall this season. 

Last time out

Forest last played Millwall last season in the EFL Cup in a 2-1 win at The Den in August. Jamie Paterson gave the Reds the lead in the first-half before Shaun Williams scored a stunning equaliser for the Lions in the second.

However, a goal from Lars Veldwijk three minutes from time was enough to send the Reds through to the next round of the competition. 

Millwall cost Stuart Pearce on their last visit to The City Ground. (picture: Getty Images / Ian Walton)
Millwall cost Stuart Pearce on their last visit to The City Ground. (picture: Getty Images / Ian Walton)

Despite this, the last time Millwall visited The City Ground they came out with a 1-0 victory in the Championship.

A late goal from Ricardo Fuller secured all three points for the Lions and put even more pressure on Reds legend Stuart Pearce who was later dismissed from his position. The Lions would be delighted with a similar result this time round. 

Team news 

Forest boss Warburton has been dealt two injury blows in the last few weeks of pre-season with both Matty Cash and Jamie Ward ruled out for this one through injury.

Cash has been ruled out for around three months whilst Ward will remain on the sidelines for about six weeks. However, apart from that, Warburton has a fully fit squad to choose from. 

Millwall's starting line-up on Friday night could be very similar to the one which beat Spanish side Granda 3-0 in pre-season last week, despite Harris stating otherwise.

The goalscorers from that match - Jed Wallace, Shaun Williams and Aiden O'Brien - will be hoping they have done enough to earn a place in the starting line-up for this opening day clash.