Nottingham Forest are aiming to keep their playoff dreams alive when they face Bournemouth in their final away game of the season on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).The Reds currently sit two points adrift of the top six and know that they must take maximum points from The Goldsands Stadium if they are to maintain their playoff challenge.
Forest head into the game on the back of consecutive wins over Birmingham and Leeds and victory this weekend would ensure the playoff race continues into the final round of matches.
The fitness of Forest goalkeepers Karl Darlow and Dorus de Vries will need to be assessed after both picked up minor injuries over the Easter weekend so Dimitar Evtimov could be in contention to start.
Henri Lansbury may still play a part in the final two games of the season despite a reoccurrence of his back injury while temporary manager Gary Brazil must decide whether to hand young midfielder Stephen McLaughlin a second consecutive start.
Bournemouth midfielder Harry Arter could return to the squad following the end of his suspension while former Reds Lee Camp and Elliott Ward are expected to start.
Lewis Grabban and Yann Kermorgant should once again lead the line for Eddie Howe’s side while Tommy Elphick and Ian Harte will want to regain their places after being dropped to the bench in Monday 2-2 draw at Ipswich.
Back-to-back victories over Birmingham and Leeds have reignited Forest’s playoff push and also ended a run of 12 league games without a win.
The Reds also managed to keep consecutive clean sheets for the first time since December and have now won two, drawn two and lost two of their last six matches.
Ipswich (A) – Drew 1-1
Millwall (H) – Lost 2-1
Sheffield Wednesday (H) – Drew 3-3
QPR (A) – Lost 5-2
Birmingham (H) - Won 1-0
Leeds (A) – Won 2-0
Bournemouth are one of this season’s surprise packages in the Championship and have lost just one of their last eight matches, a 4-2 home defeat to Sheffield Wednesday.
Their last outing saw The Cherries share a 2-2 draw with playoff rivals Ipswich Town as goals from Steve Cook and Matt Ritchie earned Bournemouth a point.
Eddie Howe’s side have only an outside chance of reaching the top six but know they must beat Forest on Saturday if they are to keep those hopes alive.
Birmingham (A) – Won 4-2
QPR (H) – Won 2-1
Reading (H) – Won 3-1
Yeovil (A) – Drew 1-1
Sheffield Wednesday (H) – Lost 4-2
Ipswich (A) – Drew 2-2
Down The Years
Forest wins over Bournemouth: 4 (4 League)
Bournemouth wins over Forest: 3 (3 League)
Draws: 4 (4 League)
A stoppage-time equaliser from Marc Pugh gave Bournemouth a share of the spoils in the last meeting between the sides at The City Ground in October 2013.
Henri Lansbury’s stunning strike had opened the scoring six minutes before the break but Pugh scrambled home a leveller in the 91st minute to earn a point for the visitors.
The last meeting between the sides at The Goldsands Stadium saw Bournemouth run out 2-0 winners in the League One contest in February 2008.
A nine-minute brace from Sam Vokes midway through the first half gave The Cherries all three points against a Forest side which included Kelvin Wilson and Chris Cohen.
He Played For Both
Elliott Ward joined Forest on loan from Norwich in 2012 and scored a late winner in the 2-1 victory over Peterborough in January 2013. The defender made 31 appearances and scored three goals during his time on Trentside before returning to Carrow Road at the end of the 2012-13 season.
Ward joined Bournemouth on a free transfer from Norwich in the summer of 2013 and has made 25 appearances for The Cherries this season. He has played a crucial role in Bournemouth’s rise up the Championship table and is a rock at the heart of Eddie Howe’s defence.
Referee: Simon Hooper
Assistant Referees: Lee Swabey and Timothy Wood
Fourth Official: Adrian Gillett
Nottingham Forest are the 19/10 outsiders to take all three points at The Goldsands Stadium on Saturday with the draw being priced at 12/5.
Odds of 14/1 are being offered to fans who fancy Forest to take a 2-0 away win for a second consecutive away game while a slender 1-0 victory for The Reds has odds of 9/1.
Matt Derbyshire has bagged four goals in the last three games and he can be backed at 13/2 to score the first goal or 2/1 to score at any time.
Check out all of the latest odds on Sky Bet.
(All odds subject to change)
Tickets and Travel
Nottingham Forest have sold out their full allocation of 1,320 tickets for this fixture.
Coach travel will depart the Brian Clough Stand at 8am and is priced at £19.
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 Sunday, as well as all the reaction from the Forest camp.