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02 January 2021 Venue Deepdale Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - Championship

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Match Previews

Match preview: Preston vs Forest in association with Football Index

1 January 2021

Check out all you need to know ahead of Nottingham Forest's clash against Preston North End in the match preview, in association with Football Index.

Nottingham Forest look to start 2021 with a bang as they travel north to face Preston North End on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).

The Reds ended a difficult 2020 with a four-game unbeaten run and Chris Hughton will be aiming to add some more victories to that streak, starting at Deepdale.

Preston have found some form themselves, picking up three straight wins with three clean sheets to see them climb the league table.

Team news

Click here for the latest from the Nottingham Forest dressing room ahead of Saturday's trip to Preston.

Forest thoughts

From the opposition

Preston manager Alex Neil said despite his side must ignore the fact they have won the last three matches and focus solely on Saturday's game against The Reds.

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He said: “The one thing about football is that you can’t ever be satisfied. You can’t look back and think ‘we’ve done well’, it is always about the next win, the next three points and that challenge never ends.

“What we want to do is that we want to keep on an upward trajectory, that is really important for us and we want to get into that top ten and then we want to strive to get into that top six and we want to compete.

“This game is an important game, because we don’t have a midweek fixture after it, let’s hope we can try and get another good victory at home – where our form has improved, which is good, because it needed to – and try and maintain that consistency."

Live coverage

Saturday's game is available to watch live on iFollow Forest, with match passes available to purchase here.

The four-camera feed will feature audio commentary and costs £10 (£7 for overseas supporters). Alternatively, you can follow the game live via the club's official social media channels and in the Match Centre.

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Referee

Tim Robinson is the referee in charge of Saturday's game, his third Forest match of the season. Robinson, from West Sussex, officiated the opening day defeat against QPR as well as the away draw against Luton Town in which Nicholas Ioannou was sent off.

The match will be Robinson's 17th of the season, having shown 54 yellow cards and five red cards in his previous 16 games across the Championship, League One and the Carabao Cup.

Robinson will be assisted by Andrew Fox and Wade Smith, with Anthony Backhouse as fourth official.

Other fixtures

To be played at 3pm on Saturday unless otherwise stated:

Sheffield Wednesday vs Derby (Friday, 5.30pm)
Birmingham vs Blackburn
Brentford vs Bristol City
Huddersfield vs Reading
Luton vs QPR
Millwall vs Coventry
Norwich vs Barnsley
Rotherham vs Cardiff
Swansea vs Watford
Wycombe vs Middlesbrough
Stoke vs Bournemouth (7.45pm)

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Match Reports

Preston 0-1 Forest

2 January 2021

Lewis Grabban's second-half penalty was enough to earn Nottingham Forest a vital 1-0 victory over Preston North End at Deepdale.

In a scrappy and hard-fought encounter, Forest had to battle hard to take all three points and earn a first league win at Preston since 2010.

Chris Hughton named an unchanged side from the one which drew 1-1 at Stoke on Tuesday night with the only change coming on the bench where the returning Scott McKenna replaced Loic Mbe Soh.

Forest made a bright start on a bitterly cold afternoon in the North West and they could have been ahead after only seven minutes. Lewis Grabban delivered the ball in from the right-hand side of the penalty area but the unmarked Anthony Knockaert could only hammer the ball over the crossbar from eight yards out.

Goalscoring opportunities had been at a real premium in the first 45 minutes and the half ended with Cafu sending a half-volley just over the target from the edge of the penalty area seconds before referee Tim Robinson blew his whistle.

Brice Samba was called into action in the early stages of the second half to prevent North End from taking the lead. Daniel Johnson skipped past two men inside the box, his cross looped up off Joe Worrall's boot onto the head of Tom Barkhuizen but his effort was superbly pushed around the post by the Forest number one.

Barkhuizen came even closer moments later as he rattled the woodwork from inside the penalty area. The ball found its way through to the former Morecambe man at the far post, he cut inside and curled a strike which bounced off the crossbar and behind for a Forest goal-kick.

A largely uneventful game was beginning to come to life and Ameobi almost found the opening goal with his last action of the afternoon. A left-wing corner was cleared only as far as Ameobi, 20 yards out from goal, and he hammered a rasping drive narrowly over the target before he was replaced by Joe Lolley moments later.

The home side were looking to more likely to break the deadlock and they should have done on 65 minutes but Brad Potts saw a close-range effort well blocked by Yuri Ribeiro before Barkhuizen blazed the follow-up effort well over the crossbar into the Alan Kelly Town End.

For all Preston's second-half pressure, it was Forest who took the lead with 20 minutes to play. A sprawling Darnell Fisher prevented a certain goal from Cafu by blocking the ball with his hands and Grabban stepped up to beat Declan Rudd from the penalty spot and give The Reds a vital advantage.

The woodwork came to Forest's rescue once again with eight minutes to play. Preston defender Ben Davies turned smartly inside the Forest penalty area and fired a shot which cannoned away off Samba's crossbar and The Reds were able to clear the danger and breathe a sigh of relief.

Despite a few nervous moments, including two free-kicks from Paul Gallagher which were kept out well by Samba, Forest were able to cling on to earn a terrific three points and stretch their unbeaten run to five matches.

Forest: Samba; Christie, Figueiredo, Worrall, Ribeiro; Sow, Yates, Cafu (Arter 88'); Ameobi (Lolley 63'), Grabban (c) (Taylor 90'), Knockaert

Subs not used: Smith, Bong, Jenkinson, Mighten, Guerrero, McKenna

Goal: Grabban (pen) 70'

Bookings: Sow 21', Figueiredo 53', Taylor 90'

Preston: Rudd; Fisher, Huntington, Davies, Hughes; Bayliss (Gallagher 77'), Ledson, Barkhuizen, Johnson; Potts (Riis Jakobsen 77'), Maguire (Stockley 87')

Subs not used: Ripley, Earl, Storey, Rafferty, Holland-Wilkinson, O'Reilly

Booking: Ledson 24'

Referee: Tim Robinson

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