How they’ve fared so far
Forest will be very disappointed overall with their start to the season under Philippe Montanier. They still find themselves in 17th position just four points off the relegation zone and seven off the play-offs.
However, things have started to click more on the pitch of late shown by two consecutive away victories. The first came at Portman Road against Ipswich Town where Forest came out 2-0 winners courtesy of two goals from star striker Britt Assombalonga but Forest will have been more pleased to gain their first clean sheet of the campaign. This result was followed up with a 5-2 victory at Oakwell against Barnsley in a crazy game which saw Henri Lansbury score a hat-trick with Ben Osborn and Apostolos Vellios also finding the net.
Friday night’s game against Newcastle still looks a tough ask for Montanier’s men due to the strength and firepower amongst Newcastle's squad. This has been utilised throughout their strong start to the campaign which sees them sat top of the table, two points clear of 2nd place Brighton & Hove Albion.
However, they have hit a slight blip of late for their standards losing two games on the bounce. The first came last weekend in a shock 1-0 defeat to struggling Blackburn Rovers at St James’ Park in a result which no-one saw coming. This was followed up by being knocked out on penalties after a 1-1 draw against Hull City away in the EFL Cup.
These two defeats will have no doubt hurt Newcastle supporters but they will be relishing the chance to get back to winning ways in the Championship on Friday night. Due to the depth of Newcastle’s squad, tiredness from playing 120 minutes on Tuesday night is unlikely to be accepted as an excuse.
Last time they met
It is has been a long time since Nottingham Forest and Newcastle faced each other with the last competitive match coming in September 2011 in the League Cup at the City Ground. Newcastle came out 4-3 winners after extra-time courtesy of a last minute Fabricio Coloccini goal.
Forest fans may have fond memories of the last time Newcastle visited the City Ground in the league as Dexter Blackstock’s strike gave the Reds a 1-0 win in October 2009 in what proved to be a very successful season for Forest.
Newcastle are still likely to field a very strong line-up on Friday night despite having played 120 minutes against Hull City on Tuesday. This line-up is likely to include two familiar faces to Forest fans in the form of Karl Darlow and Jamaal Lascelles with the latter now Newcastle captain. The likes of Jonjo Shelvey, Jack Colback, Matt Ritchie, Dwight Gayle amongst others are also all fit and ready to face the Reds.
As for Forest, Montanier is likely to stick with the same back three of Joe Worrall, Matt Mills and Damien Perquis who were present for both of the recent away victories providing protection to keeper Vladamir Stojkovic. Michael Mancienne may slot in at right back if Eric Lichaj is back fit and able to play left-back.
The midfield is also likely to remain the same with Lam sitting in front of the defence with Kasami and Lansbury ahead of him.
Britt Assombalonga is back raring to go after missing the Barnsley game through injury so he will be expected to start with Ben Osborn playing just off him after a string of impressive performances catching the eye of several Premier League clubs.