Nottingham Forest want to start 2014 in the best possible style when they travel to promotion rivals Reading on New Year’s Day (kick-off 3pm).After securing back to back home wins against Queens Park Rangers and Leeds, Billy Davies’ men are aiming to continue their winning streak at The Madejski Stadium.
Forest have closed the gap on the automatic promotion places to just five points and know that victory in Berkshire would heap pressure on the league leaders.
David Vaughan’s fitness will be assessed after he missed Sunday’s win over Leeds with a slight thigh injury.
Simon Cox has recovered from a virus and could return to the starting line-up while Darius Henderson serves the final match of his three-game ban.
Chris Cohen, Kelvin Wilson and Danny Collins will miss the clash as they continue to recover from their respective long-term injuries.
Reading defender Kaspars Gorkss misses out through suspension after being sent off in The Royals’ 3-0 defeat at Middlesbrough on Sunday.
Royston Drenthe sat out the loss at The Riverside Stadium for personal reasons while Jordan Obita and Chris Baird were absent through injury. The trio could however return to the squad on Wednesday.
Sean Morrison, Mikele Leigertwood, Jem Karacan, Jason Roberts and Wayne Bridge are all suffering from long-term injuries and will miss the match.
The 2-1 win over Leeds extended Forest’s unbeaten run to six matches and ensured they progressed through the month of December without suffering defeat.
The Reds have taken three wins and three draws from their last six outings in a run which has propelled them to 5th in the Sky Bet Championship and they now sit just four points behind QPR in 4th.
Billy Davies’ side have proved difficult to beat away from home. They haven’t lost on the road since their 3-1 defeat at Yeovil Town back on 26 October.
Millwall (A) – Drew 2-2
Sheffield Wednesday (A) – Won 1-0
Ipswich (H) – Drew 0-0
Birmingham (A) – Drew 0-0
QPR (H) – Won 2-0
Leeds (H) – Won 2-1
Reading have been on an inconsistent run of form since their 3-2 win at The City Ground on 29 November, winning just two of their last six matches.
The Madejski Stadium proved something of a fortress earlier in the season but both Wigan and Bournemouth have stormed the castle in recent weeks to leave with all three points.
Three straight defeats to Wigan, Leicester and Middlesbrough over the festive period mean Nigel Adkins’ men have now slipped to 9th but The Royals are still only one point off the playoff places.
Charlton (H) – Won 1-0
Bournemouth (H) – Lost 2-1
Huddersfield (A) – Won 1-0
Wigan (H) – Lost 2-1
Leicester (A) – Lost 1-0
Middlesbrough (A) – Lost 3-0
Down The Years
Forest wins over Reading: 15 (13 League, 2 FA Cup)
Reading wins over Forest: 11 (11 League)
Draws: 8 (7 League, 1 FA Cup)
The last meeting between the two sides came on 29 November as Reading emerged from a five-gaol thriller at The City Ground with all three points.
The Royals surged ahead through goals from Pavel Pogrebnyak and Kaspars Gorkss but Forest pulled level courtesy of strikes from Simon Cox and Darius Henderson.
It wasn’t to be for The Reds as Jordan Obita struck a winner 16 minutes from time and, despite Chris Gunter’s late red card, the visitors clung on.
The last meeting between the two sides at The Madejski Stadium came in April 2012 as The Reds slipped to a 1-0 defeat thanks to Mikele Leigertwood’s goal nine minutes from time.
He Played For Both
Garath McCleary joined Forest in January 2008 from non-league side Bromley and made an instant impact by scoring in his third game for the club in a 2-0 win at Carlisle. The midfielder helped The Reds win promotion to the Championship in his first season and after making 123 appearances and scoring 13 goals for the club, he departed for Reading in the summer of 2012.
McCleary made 31 Premier League outings last season, scoring four goals in the process. He has already notched twice this season and continues to be an integral part of Reading’s energetic midfield.
Referee: Michael Oliver
Assistant Referees: Ian Fissenden and Dan Robathan
Fourth Official: Stephen Martin
The bookmakers can’t split Nottingham Forest and Reading with both clubs priced 13/8 to win the game at The Madejski Stadium.
Matt Derbyshire fired a stunning 25-yard winner against Leeds on Sunday and supporters can get odds of 15/2 on him scoring the final goal again.
Forest haven’t won at The Madejski Stadium since their 1-0 victory back in February 2009 and there are odds of 13/2 on a repeat scoreline this time around.
Click here to see all the latest odds at Sky Bet.
(All odds correct at time of publishing)
Tickets and Travel
Nottingham Forest have been allocated a further 423 tickets for this fixture, taking the total allocation to 1,764.
There are a limited number of tickets available to purchase on the day of the game however it is strongly recommended that they are bought in advance as there is a matchday price increase.
Coach travel is priced £16 and will depart the Brian Clough Stand car park at 9.45am.
For supporters looking to travel to the match by train, Nottingham Forest benefit from every rail ticket booked with East Midlands Trains through The Reds’ official website.
On Saturday, the 9.41am service from Nottingham arrives in Reading at 1.08pm, giving supporters plenty of time to make the three-mile journey from the station to The Madejski Stadium.
For a full schedule of trains to Reading and for the best prices visit East Midlands Trains.
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 12pm on Thursday, as well as all the reaction from the Forest camp.