Nottingham Forest are currently a club on a high having beaten bitter rivals Derby County by a 1-0 scoreline at the City Ground on Monday. Martin O’Neill must quickly refocus his side though as they face a tough test against Stoke City on Saturday.
In order to gain a positive result against the Potters, the Reds must stick to an effective gameplan and reproduce the levels of commitment and discipline that they displayed against the Rams.
Having been relegated from the Premier League last season, Stoke will have expected to compete for promotion from the Championship this time around. Things have not gone to plan for the club though, who currently find themselves in the bottom half of the second tier.
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However, Forest cannot afford to underestimate Nathan Jones’ side who still possess a lot of attacking quality. What’s more, defeat for Forest could seriously harm their hopes of reaching the play-offs.
In order to get a positive result, O’Neill must seek to replicate the most positive aspects of his side’s performance against Derby.
On Monday, Forest were incredibly diligent. They were well-organised and compact throughout. They also demonstrated an admirable work rate to ensure that Frank Lampard’s side were never allowed to become too comfortable in possession.
Forest also used their key men well. Play was effectively and consistently channeled through Joe Lolley who has the quality to hurt the opposition in the final third. They also played to their physical and aerial strengths – it was unsurprising, therefore, that Yohan Benalouane’s match-winning goal came from a set piece.
If Forest are able to shine in these all-important areas again on Saturday then they’re likely to return from the bet365 stadium with all three points in tow.