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Kick off 12:30 (UK)

06 May 2018 Venue Macron Stadium Attendance

Kick off 12:30 (UK)

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English Football League - Championship

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Match Previews

Preview: Bolton (A)

5 May 2018

The 2017-18 season draws to a close on Sunday as Nottingham Forest make the trip to the Macron Stadium to take on a relegation-threatened Bolton Wanderers (kick-off 12.30pm).

The Reds have the luxury of being safe from any fears of the drop going into the final round of fixtures, a contrast to last season, and face a Bolton side needing all three points to stand a chance of securing safety.

Aitor Karanka's side finished the home campaign on a positive note with a three-game unbeaten run, defeating Ipswich Town and Barnsley before a goalless draw with Bristol City, and The Reds will be looking to equally end the campaign away from home with a result.

Bolton come into the game in 23rd place, one point from safety, and must win to leapfrog their nearest rivals should they drop points. A seven-game winless run, however, has seen confidence sap from Phil Parkinson's side - including defeats against relegation rivals Birmingham and Burton and conceding a last-gasp equaliser against Barnsley - and The Trotters will be hoping that they can prevent an immediate return to League One.

See below for the pre-match views from the Forest camp.

Team news

Aitor Karanka has no fresh injury worries heading into the final game of the season. Tobias Figueiredo, David Vaughan and Juan Rafael Fuentes all remain sidelined through injury.

Jack Hobbs could be given a chance to impress at the heart of the Forest defence, while Andreas Bouchalakis will be keen to keep hold of his shirt after an impressive performance against Bristol City last time out.

From the opposition

Bolton boss Phil Parkinson said that his side will fight right until the end of the game to try and preserve their Championship status.

The Trotters need to get the three points to stand a chance of staying in the division and Parkinson feels that his side will be best focusing on what they need to do.

Speaking to Bolton's official website, he said: "We know it is an important weekend for us. We know we still have a good chance and we have to do our bit and hope other results go our way.

"All we can focus on is getting the result ourselves and hopefully a few favours are done for us elsewhere.

"Forest have been playing a 4-3-3 but they might make changes. It is more about focusing on what we feel we need to do to give ourselves the best chance of winning the game.

"I firmly believe that we can pick a team capable of doing that and we need to show that enthusiasm.

"Not only that, the kind of mentality if it doesn't go our way straight away, a goal goes against us or a referee decision goes to our opponents, that we don't let our heads drop.

"We've got to drive through right to end of the game. Even if it's 1-0 down with five minutes to go, we can still score two goals in the last five minutes.

"Hopefully, we will be up in the game and that won't be the case. But we have to have that mentality that we drive right to the end."

One to watch - Sammy Ameobi

Arguably Bolton's most creative talent, Sammy Ameobi will have to be on top of his game on Sunday to try and drag The Trotters out of the bottom three.

The former Newcastle winger signed permanently for Bolton at the start of the season having helped guide them back into the Championship during a loan spell, and he will hope to have a part to play in keeping them in the second tier.

Last visit


There are no more tickets available for Nottingham Forest supporters for Sunday's game after the club's allocation sold out last weekend.

After the initial batch of 2,145 tickets sold out on Saturday, the club requested a further allocation from Bolton but unfortunately this application was unsuccessful.


The game will be broadcast live on iFollow Forest for international subscribers, with audio commentary also available.

Full match coverage will also be provided via the club's official social media channels and in the Match Centre.

Around the league

Forest can have a big say in the relegation battle at the bottom of the Championship as, realistically, Bolton must beat The Reds at the Macron Stadium to stand any chance of survival.

Sunderland's relegation to League One has already been confirmed with Bolton and Burton Albion  making up the bottom three heading into the final day.

Every side up to Reading who are in 19th place could still go down, with Bolton on 40 points (-36 goal difference), Burton (-42) and Barnsley (-21) on 41 points and Birmingham City (-32) and Reading (-22) on 43 points.

The Trotters must win, with Barnsley having a far superior goal difference, so three points combined with Barnsley or Burton dropping points, or a defeat for Birmingham with a four-goal swing, would keep them up.

Click here for the full final-day permutations at both ends of the Championship and across the rest of the EFL. 

Other fixtures

All fixtures to be played at 12.30pm on Sunday:

Birmingham v Fulham
Brentford v Hull
Bristol City v Sheffield United
Cardiff v Reading
Derby v Barnsley
Ipswich v Middlesbrough
Leeds v QPR
Millwall v Aston Villa
Preston v Burton
Sheffield Wednesday v Norwich
Sunderland v Wolves

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Match Reports

Bolton 3-2 Forest

6 May 2018

There was plenty of final-day drama at the Macron Stadium as Nottingham Forest lost 3-2 against Bolton Wanderers.

Goals from Ben Osborn and Jack Colback looked like consigning The Trotters to relegation but late strikes by David Wheater and Aaron Wilbraham meant that Bolton preserved their Championship status.

Adam Le Fondre had given Bolton a 67th-minute lead to kickstart the drama but Forest ended the 2017-18 season with a loss in an enthralling game.

There was an intense atmosphere inside the Macron Stadium as the home side went in search of the win needed to secure their Championship status. The first opening of the game arrived for Forest on the ninth minute as Lee Tomlin's superb raking pass found Osborn down the left, but his low cross lacked the finishing touch from the arriving Ben Brereton.

Shortly after that chance, The Reds were indebted to some brilliant goalkeeping by Stefanos Kapino to deny Wheater's point-blank header and on 23 minutes Bolton were inches away from taking the lead as Filipe Morais's shot from 12 yards fizzed just wide.

The home side came even closer just after the half-hour mark though as Wilbraham's header cannoned back off the post before he then saw an goal chalked off for offside after Kapino parried Morais's initial effort.

The chances continued to come in an open affair as Forest hit back with two opportunities of their own, both falling to Joe Lolley. The winger drove at the heart of the Bolton defence before shooting at goal, with his shot deflecting onto the crossbar with Ben Alnwick beaten. Moments later and Lolley was there to meet Darikwa's cross from the right but could only divert his header over the bar when it looked easier to score.

It could easily have been a high-scoring match but the two sides went in goalless at the break, with tension running high in the stands as the Bolton fans desperately tried to encourage their side on.

Kapino made a smart double save just after the hour before Mark Little fired wide as the Forest defence stood firm to keep their opponents at bay. Wilbraham saw another chance go begging as he headed over the bar from close range before the breakthrough came on 67 minutes thanks to substitute Le Fondre.

The forward was quickest to react to Karl Henry's blocked shot and instinctively fired the loose ball first time into the top corner to give Kapino no chance and send the Bolton fans wild.

But the euphoria soon turned to despair as The Reds hit back immediately with a superb strike from Osborn. The Player of the Season picked up a pass from Lolley and drove towards goal before unleashing a fine low effort which arrowed into the bottom corner of the net.

And on 79 minutes Forest had a second goal which looked like being the nail in Bolton's coffin, as some superb work by Lolley saw him win the ball in the corner and wriggle his way along the byline before pulling it back for Colback who lashed home a superb volley for his first goal in the Garibaldi.

But the drama wasn't to finish there as Bolton threw everything at the Forest defence. The Trotters levelled on 87 minutes as centre back Wheater, thrown forward in an attempt to salvage a result, tucked home in the area like a seasoned striker before Wilbraham finally hit the back of the net with a fine low header from a right-wing delivery to cause pandemonium amongst the home supporters.

Forest: Kapino, Darikwa, Hobbs, Fox, Osborn, Watson (c) (Guedioura 76'), Colback, Bridcutt (Vellios 76'), Lolley, Tomlin (Cash 61'), Brereton

Unused subs: Smith, Lichaj, Mancienne, Bouchalakis

Goals: Osborn 70', Colback 79'

Bookings: Bridcutt 7', Fox 39', Lolley 57', Darikwa 82'

Bolton: Alnwick (Howard 46'), Little, Wheater, Beevers, Robinson, Ameobi, Henry, Pratley (c) (Le Fondre 59'), Morais (Noone 76'), Vela, Wilbraham

Unused subs: Taylor, Karacan, Buckley, Burke

Goals: Le Fondre 67', Wheater 86', Wilbraham 88'

Bookings: Pratley 13', Robinson 45'

Referee: Scott Duncan

Attendance: 18,289 (2,124 away)

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