Nottingham Forest are looking to unwrap a late Christmas gift by taking three points against Queens Park Rangers on Boxing Day (kick-off 7.30pm).The Reds are currently unbeaten during the month of December and will be aiming for a spot back in the Championship’s top six with a win over Harry Redknapp’s side.
The last two meetings between the sides have ended in draws but Forest will hope to come out on top in what looks set to be another close encounter on Trentside.
Darius Henderson will miss the clash as serves the first game in a three-match suspension following his sending off at Birmingham City on Saturday.
Danny Collins is closing in on a return to first-team action but Kelvin Wilson and Chris Cohen remain long-term absentees.
QPR will be without the services of their midfielder Joey Barton as he serves a one-match suspension after being red-carded in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Leicester City.
Yossi Benayoun may step into Barton’s shoes for the clash at The City Ground but Alejandro Faurlin and Bobby Zamora are certain miss the game through injury.
The Reds haven’t been beaten in four matches dating back to November’s loss to Reading but that run has consisted of three draws against Millwall, Ipswich and Birmingham.
Saturday’s point at St Andrew’s was enough to see Forest keep pace with the top six but they will know that only three points will do if they are to continue chasing down the league leaders.
Burnley (H) – Drew 1-1
Reading (H) – Lost 3-2
Millwall (A) – Drew 2-2
Sheffield Wednesday (A) – Won 1-0
Ipswich (H) – Drew 0-0
Birmingham (A) – Drew 0-0
QPR are on a somewhat inconsistent run of form which has seen them beaten by both Doncaster and Leicester in recent weeks.
Saturday’s loss at home to The Foxes saw them displaced at the top of the Championship by Burnley and Rangers will travel to Trentside aiming to regain their place at the summit.
Their recent form does include an impressive 2-0 win over Blackpool at Bloomfield Road which demonstrates their obvious abilities away from home.
Charlton (H) – Won 1-0
Doncaster (A) – Lost 2-1
Bournemouth (H) – Won 3-0
Blackburn (H) – Drew 0-0
Blackpool (A) – Won 2-0
Leicester (H) – Lost 1-0
Down The Years
Forest wins over QPR: 25 (20 League, 3 FA Cup, 2 League Cup)
QPR wins over Forest: 14 (13 League, 1 League Cup)
Draws: 19 (17 League, 2 FA Cup)
The last meeting between the two sides came at Loftus Road in February 2011 as Forest and QPR shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw in West London.
Tommy Smith opened the scoring for The Hoops before Forest saw Radi Majewski sent off on 23 minutes to leave them with a mountain to climb.
The Reds hit back three minutes later through David McGoldrick and despite dominating the rest of the contest, Rangers were unable to break the ten men down.
The last time QPR visited The City Ground was back in November 2010 as the two sides played out a 0-0 draw on Trentside.
He Played For Both
Stan Bowles spent nine successful years at QPR after signing from Carlisle United in 1972. Over the course of his stay at Loftus Road he made 315 appearances and scored 97 goals before his switch to Nottingham Forest.
Former manager Brian Clough brought Bowles to Trentside in 1979 and he would go on to make 19 outings for the club over a two-year stay. The striker scored twice for The Reds in wins over Aston Villa and Coventry City before moving to Leyton Orient.
Referee: Keith Stroud
Assistant Referees: Paul Rees and Edward Smart
Fourth Official: Andrew Madley
Forest are slight favourites to take all three points on Boxing Day and can be backed at 6/4 while the draw is a good bet at 23/10.
The Reds have been the goalless draw specialists over recent weeks and supporters can get 15/2 on a third straight 0-0 stalemate on Thursday.
Forest’s last win at The City Ground over The Hoops came in 2010 with a 5-0 thrashing and there are odds of 200/1 being offered on a repeat scoreline this time around.
Check out all of the latest odds on Sky Bet.
(All odds correct at time of publishing)
The official matchday magazine is available to buy and download for the Boxing Day meeting with QPR.
In this edition, priced £3, Billy Davies discusses the busy festive period, Jamie Mackie talks about facing his former club and there is a look back at the best Forest moments of the season so far.
Forest fans are reminded that they can download the official matchday magazine to their iPad. Perfect for supporters who are unable to attend the game, the download can be accessed via this app from 6.30pm onwards on Thursday.
Hard copies will be available from all the usual outlets around The City Ground.
Follow The Game
Live audio commentary will be available on Forest Player, as well as free live text commentary on www.nottinghamforest.co.uk.
Forest Player will also have extended match highlights from 12noon on Friday, as well as all the reaction from the Forest camp.
Tickets for the match (Thursday 26 December, kick-off 7.30pm) are on general sale and can be bought online at www.nffcretail.com, in store at the Ticket Office or by calling 0871 226 1980 (calls cost 10p per minute, mobile rates may vary).
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