Nottingham Forest will be looking to get back to winning ways in The Championship as they take on inform Sheffield United at The City Ground on Saturday afternoon.
Forest slipped to yet another defeat on Tuesday night as they lost 3-1 to Fulham at The City Ground. It was a bitter pill for Forest supporters to swallow after seeing their side play well for large periods of the game.
As for Sheffield United, they claimed another three points in midweek to continue their fine run of form as they beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 at Bramall Lane.
How they've fared so far
It has been a difficult couple of weeks for Forest manager Mark Warburton as the pressure has started to build following a poor run of form. There has undoubtedly been progress at the club following the takeover of Evangelos Marinakis and Warburton is being given time to implement his style of football. This may take a significant amount of time and some supporters are already becoming frustrated.
Despite the fact that the results have not gone in The Reds' favour in recent weeks, the performances have still been there. This was most evident in Tuesday's 3-1 defeat to Fulham as it was a game that Forest dominated for large periods and should have put beyond doubt before the Cottagers took the lead. However, it is the defensive errors that are proving very costly and need to be eradicated if Forest are to turn their form around.
Liam Bridcutt was one of many signings that Warburton lured to The City Ground this summer and he revealed this week that the players are keen to prove to the manager and everyone else connected to the club that they are capable of playing the style of football that he demands. The Reds have shown glimpses of quality in recent games but have not been able to sustain these standards for an entire match. This is something they will be looking to change.
This is a very important game for The Reds as they will not want to head into the international break on the back of yet another defeat. They are currently six points off the play-offs but also only six points off relegation and would much rather head into the break in the top half and looking up the table rather than down. When the Reds return, they will travel to face arch rivals Derby County at Pride Park and they will want to head into this game in some sort of form.
As for Sheffield United, they have been one of the surprise packages so far this season under the management of Chris Wilder. They ended a six-year absence from The Championship last season by securing the League One title and they have carried this momentum into the current campaign. If they can keep up their recent form, they may even be a dark horse for promotion to the Premier League.
Their biggest statement of intent so far this season came in their 4-2 win away at Sheffield Wednesday in the 'Steel City' derby. Leon Clarke grabbed himself a brace in this match as he silenced the packed Hillsborough crowd. If they can replicate this sort of performance against Forest tomorrow, they have a great chance of claiming yet another three points and heading into the international break in the automatic promotion places.
Last time they met
Forest last played Sheffield United in The FA Cup in a 3-1 defeat at Bramall Lane in February 2014. Jamie Paterson put the away side in front in the first-half but second-half goals from Conor Coady and Chris Porter turned the game on it's head. It was a frustrating match for Forest supporters to witness and manager Billy Davies said his side pressed the self-destruct button.
Warburton is unable to select Matt Mills in tomorrow's match as the centre-back is suspended following picking up his fifth booking of the season in the defeat to Fulham in midweek. However, he has many other options to choose from such as Jack Hobbs, Michael Mancienne, Joe Worrall and more.
The likes of Barrie McKay, Ben Brereton and Andreas Bouchalakis will all also be looking to force their way back into Warburton's plans after being left out of the starting line-up against Fulham. It would be a surprise if McKay did not start considering how influential he has been for the Reds so far this season.
As for Sheffield United, Billy Sharp is back in contention and may start alongside Clarke upfront for the Blades. Enda Stevens had to have a scan midweek following a knock to his ankle but should be fit enough to play a part in this one.