Nottingham Forest vs Reading preview: How to watch, kick-off time, team news, predicted lineups and ones to watch
Brennan Johnson of Nottingham Forest during the FA Cup match between Nottingham Forest and Huddersfield Town at the City Ground, Nottingham on Monday 7th March 2022. (Photo by Jon Hobley/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Play-off chasing Nottingham Forest welcome relegation threatened Reading to the City Ground this weekend in a game that will have significant effects on both ends of the Championship table. 

As well as being unbeaten in their last five league games, Forest will come into this game on a high after booking a place in the FA Cup quarter-final this Monday, setting up a fixture against Liverpool at the end of March. In turn, that win has extended Forest’s unbeaten run to seven in all competitions. 

Reading come into this fixture off the back of a lacklustre 1-0 defeat to Millwall, a result that made it back-to-back Championship defeats for the Royals who now find themselves five points away from the relegation zone. Reading will be hoping for a rare win at the City Ground to steer them away from the danger zone, a stadium they haven’t won at since November 2013.

Team news

Lewis Grabban remains the only injury issue for Forest boss Steve Cooper, who claims the striker is making good progress. 

Cooper is faced with a positive selection headache ahead of this match though, with goalkeeper Brice Samba back from suspension. 

Ethan Horvath covered in goal for the Reds during Samba’s three-game suspension and barely put a foot wrong, earning himself a start against Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup when Samba became eligible again. 

"I see it as a very competitive, hard-working goalkeeping department at the moment," Steve Cooper said to Nottinghamshire Live Sport ahead of this fixture.

"I just see it as it should be - goalkeepers working really hard and pushing each other to try to get in the team. It’s as simple as that, really."

Reading have been hit hard by injuries this season and with Arsenal loanee Karl Hein returning to his parent club after being ruled out for the season with a finger injury, news of Josh Laurent’s potential return will be welcomed by Royals fans.

However, it is possible that this fixture may come too soon for Laurent. Speaking ahead of the game at his pre-match press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Reading interim boss Paul Ince said: "You can't throw players like Scott Dann and Josh Laurent straight back in. They've been out for four or five weeks."

Ince has also claimed that Chelsea loanee Baba Rahman is around two or three weeks away from returning whilst Alen Halilovic may need another week before touching the grass again. 

Royals forward Femi Azeez remains out with a hamstring injury whilst Lucas Joao has been suffering from illness this week and may not be ready for the Nottingham Forest game. 

Felipe Araruna and Dejan Tetek remain long-term absentees for Reading. 

Predicted lineups

Nottingham Forest: Horvath, Worrall, Cook, McKenna, Spence, Lowe, Yates, Colback, Garner, Johnson, Davis

Reading: Southwood, Yiadom, Morrison, Dann, McIntyre, Drinkwater, Rinomhota, Ince, Swift, Hoilett, Joao

Ones to watch

Ryan Yates

Ryan Yates has scored two injury-time equalisers for Forest in the last four league games as well as scoring the winner against Huddersfield in the FA Cup last time out. 

Lucas Joao

Lucas Joao has scored six goals in his last nine league appearances, all before the 25th minute. If the forward is fit enough to play in this fixture, Forest will look to nullify any threat from the Portuguese striker.

Previous meetings

The last time these two sides faced each other was late November when a Scott Dann goal was enough to cancel out Philip Zinckernagel’s early goal to earn Reading a point at home. 

It was the first game for the Royals after being deducted six points by the EFL and their fans will be hoping for a similar kind of determination this time out.

How to watch

This match is on Saturday, March 12, and kicks off at 15:00 GMT. This game is unavailable to watch in the UK and Ireland but can be live streamed via either club website for those abroad.