Nottingham Forest vs Cardiff City Preview: Can the Reds close the gap on the play-offs with another three points?

Nottingham Forest will be looking to close the gap on the play-offs in The Championship as they take on Cardiff City at The City Ground on Sunday afternoon.

Nottingham Forest vs Cardiff City Preview: Can the Reds close the gap on the play-offs with another three points?
Nottingham Forest vs Cardiff City Preview: Can the Reds close the gap on the play-offs with another three points? (picture: Getty Images / Amena Pictures)

Nottingham Forest will be looking to close the gap on the play-offs in The Championship as they take on Cardiff City at The City Ground on Sunday afternoon.

The Reds secured a vital three points on Tuesday night as they won 1-0 against Norwich City at The City Ground. Daryl Murphy's goal late into the second-half was the difference between the two sides. 

As for Cardiff, they moved into the automatic promotion places on Tuesday evening courtesy of a 1-0 win away at Barnsley. Callum Paterson's late goal was enough to secure all three points for Neil Warnock's side. 

How they've fared so far

After a poor run of results during September, Forest have really turned their form around under the management of Mark Warburton.

Forest's home form has been particularly impressive having picked up four consecutive wins on Trentside against Sheffield United, Burton Albion, Queens Park Rangers and most recently Norwich. This has helped the Reds move to within two points of the play-off places. 

However, they could have found themselves in the play-off places already if it was not for their poor form away from home.

Consistency has been a huge issue for Warburton's side this season and they will have to improve results on their travels if they are to have any chance of securing promotion to the Premier League come next May. 

Everyone connected with the club is very excited about what the future may hold. After five dismal years under the ownership of Fawaz Al-Hasawi, new owner Evangelos Marinakis has installed a proper structure at the club and one that can be the basis for success.

The number of young players currently being given a chance in the starting line-up by Warburton is another huge reason for optimism. If the Reds can fend off interest in their young stars, the future is looking very bright. 

As for Cardiff, they have made a very impressive start to their 2017/18 Championship campaign under the management of Warnock. Not many people had the Bluebirds down as promotion contenders before the season kicked off but they are now among the favourites to end the season in success. 

The Bluebirds leapfrogged Sheffield United on Tuesday night to move into the Championship's automatic promotion places and they will be eager to stay there.

The style of play that Warnock has implemented at Cardiff is very difficult to beat and it is difficult to see them not being at the top end of the Championship come the end of the season. They will certainly be capable of securing another three points against Forest on Sunday. 

Last time they met

Forest last played Cardiff in The Championship in a 1-0 defeat at the Cardiff City Stadium in April. Aron Gunnarsson's long-range strike was enough to secure all three points for the Bluebirds and increase Forest's relegation worries. 

Warnock's side also got the better of Forest on their last visit to The City Ground. Goals from Gunnarsson and Joe Ralls secured a 2-1 win for the Bluebirds last October in a game which also saw Thomas Lam sent off for the home side. 

Cardiff increased Forest's relegation worries the last time these two sides met. (picture: Getty Images / Stu Forster)
Cardiff increased Forest's relegation worries the last time these two sides met. (picture: Getty Images / Stu Forster)

Team news 

Forest will be without midfielder Liam Bridcutt for this match as he is suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season in the 1-0 win over Norwich on Tuesday. Full-back Tendayi Darikwa has also been ruled out for a couple of weeks with an ankle injury which could see Armand Traore return to the starting line-up.

As for Cardiff, Warnock may be boosted by the return of Nathaniel Mendez-Laing as he has missed the last two matches through injury. However, Omar Bogle is s still banned and Kenneth Zohore is still out for at least another two weeks.