Peterborough United’s 2-0 victory over Barnsley on Easter Monday maintained their hopes of survival, but with Reading also earning a point on the same day, each game is practically a must win for the Posh.
Grant McCann’s team now sit seven points adrift of Reading in 21st and have a much inferior goal difference to the Royals, with three games to play. If Peterborough lose this fixture, they will be relegated. The Posh can only afford to draw if Reading lose to Hull City, but if they win their fixture, Peterborough will be relegated no matter the result against Forest.
Peterborough do come into this fixture in good form, unbeaten in their last four and victorious in their last two. However, the Posh haven’t won three consecutive Championship fixtures since 2012, something that will need to change if they want to stay up.
Forest have contrasting aspirations to Peterborough and if they are to win this fixture, results elsewhere could mean that the Reds will have at least a play-off spot confirmed whilst holding games in hand on teams around them.
Forest boss Steve Cooper, though, will still have one eye on an automatic promotion place. The Reds sit seven points behind AFC Bournemouth in second, but with both teams having five games to go and each other yet to play, there is hope for Forest if they continue to win their fixtures.
Joel Randall made his comeback from injury with lively cameos as a substitute against Blackburn Rovers and Barnsley and will be looking to get more minutes against Forest.
Steve Cooper was boosted by the return of Steve Cook last time out after missing five league games through injury. Fellow defender Scott McKenna was also able to play against West Brom after limping off with a hamstring issue against Luton.
It’s not all good news though as Forest striker Keinan Davis has picked up a hamstring injury that rules him out for the remaining five games of the Championship season.
Asked if Davis could potentially be back for the play-offs, Steve Cooper told Nottinghamshire Live Sport: “We don’t know what’s going to happen. We’re focusing on the next game, and we’re not looking any further than the Hull game. We’ve got five games left in less than three weeks; he won’t be available in that.”
“Lewis is sick. Hopefully it’s just a 24 or 48-hour thing. He went home early on Sunday. We sent him home hoping that he would recover to be involved. We had ruled him out starting.
“He’s done everything to get back from his ankle injury, probably a little bit too soon at times, because he’s pushed himself. It was a kick in the teeth for him really, not to be involved again.”
Nottingham Forest: Samba, Worrall, Figueiredo, McKenna, Spence, Yates, Garner, Colback, Zinckernagel, Johnson, Surridge
Peterborough United: Cornell, Coulson, Knight, Edwards, Kent, Burrows, Taylor, Fuchs, Szmodics, Marriott, Clarke-Harris
Ones to watch
The Posh striker scored decisive goals in both of Peterborough's Easter wins and will be hoping to continue that trend against Forest. Marriott’s goal tally is now up to eight for the season in the Championship.
The Reds forward has scored decisive goals in three of Forest’s last four wins, with all his goals coming within the first half an hour. Johnson scored and assisted last time out against West Brom and now has 24 goal involvements (15G, 9A) in the league so far this season.
The last time these two sides met was in December, where Forest earned a 2-0 win at the City Ground.
In their first meeting since 2013, it took 73 minutes for the opening goal as James Garner fired past Posh goalkeeper David Cornell.
Forest secured their win with 84 minutes on the clock as Ryan Yates converted Garner’s cross from close-range to give the Reds all three points.
How to watch
This match is on Saturday, April 23, and kicks off at 15:00 BST. This game is unavailable to watch in the UK and Ireland but can be live streamed via either club website for those abroad.
What the managers have said
Peterborough manager Grant McCann spoke to the club’s media ahead of the game, highlighting just how good the opposition are and how big a game this is for both teams.
He said: “Nottingham Forest are probably the best team in the league right now, I know Fulham have won the league, but in terms of the form of the Reds at present, I don’t think there is anyone better.
”Steve Cooper has done a really good job, since he took over they have been on a wonderful run and they will need the points to stay in contention.
“I think it is a really good game for us, like Barnsley and Blackburn, it is another team with plenty to play for. It should be a great atmosphere, hopefully the Posh fans will be bouncing.”
As Forest prepare for a busy fortnight, Steve Cooper spoke to the local media, insisting that he wants his side to look forward to the run-in whilst recognising just how dangerous a game Peterborough is.
He said: "It's five games in 14 days with most of them away from home, so it is a busy schedule but one we need to attack.
"We've learnt from the last couple of years from the repercussions of COVID and those schedules that we are capable of playing a lot of games within a short period of time.
"We're looking forward to it, we'll be attacking every game and that starts at the weekend.
"It's a great place to be at the end of the season, playing in games that have huge importance around them, so we need to be excited about that.
"Peterborough are unbeaten in four games, they have had back-to-back wins and are fighting for something different to us, but it'll mean the same.
"We go there under no illusions that we have to be really focused and go and play our own game. We've got to be ready for this game and we'll go there confident."