Nottingham Forest have the chance to close the gap on the Sky Bet Championship’s frontrunners when they travel to Blackpool on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).With Derby and QPR meeting at The iPro Stadium on Monday night, Forest know a win at Bloomfield Road could lift them to within three points of the automatic promotion places.
The two teams currently sit at opposite ends of the form table but Barry Ferguson’s Seasiders will be aiming to get their season back on track by upsetting Forest on the Lancashire coast.
Henri Lansbury (back) and David Vaughan (knee) have both been struck by injury in recent days and the duo look set to join Chris Cohen, Dexter Blackstock and Kelvin Wilson on the long-term absentee list.
Eric Lichaj will also miss the trip to Bloomfield Road through injury but Jack Hobbs, Danny Fox, Rafik Djebbour and Kevin Gomis should be amongst the squad after being ineligible to feature in the FA Cup in midweek.
Blackpool’s Neal Bishop is fighting for a return after recovering from a hamstring injury while midfielder Elliot Grandin could make his second debut for the club after rejoining from Crystal Palace earlier this week.
Ricardo Fuller, Jack Robinson, Tom Barkhuizen and Bobby Grant have all occupied the treatment room in recent weeks and look set to miss out again.
The Reds made it 14 games unbeaten with a 2-0 win at Preston on Wednesday night, setting up an FA Cup fifth-round tie at Sheffield United in the process.
Forest know they could move up to 3rd in the Sky Bet Championship with a win at Bloomfield Road as fellow promotion contenders Derby and QPR don’t meet until Monday night.
Three consecutive league wins have moved The Reds firmly into the promotion picture but they haven’t won an away league game since the 1-0 victory at Sheffield Wednesday back in December.
Bolton (A) – Drew 1-1
Blackburn (H) – Won 4-1
Preston (H)* - Drew 0-0
Watford (H) - Won 4-2
Yeovil (H) – Won 3-1
Preston (A)* - Won 2-0
Blackpool are in the midst of a poor run of form which has seen them go on a 13-game winless run in all competitions dating back to 30 November.
Goals from David Dunn and Grant Hanley condemned Barry Ferguson’s side to a 2-0 defeat at Blackburn on Saturday, their eighth consecutive loss away from home.
The Tangerines have since slipped to 15th in the Sky Bet Championship and now sit closer to the relegation zone than they do to the playoff places.
Bolton (A)* – Lost 2-1
Middlesbrough (H) – Lost 2-0
Barnsley (A) – Lost 2-0
Doncaster (H) – Drew 1-1
Reading (A) – Lost 5-1
Blackburn (A) – Lost 2-0
Down The Years
Forest wins over Blackpool: 29 (29 League)
Blackpool wins over Forest: 27 (25 League, 2 FA Cup)
Draws: 25 (25 League)
The last meeting between the two sides came in November as Blackpool snatched a last-gasp win at The City Ground.
Karl Darlow had saved Tom Ince’s first-half penalty in an incident which also saw Djamal Abdoun red-carded before Stephen Dobbie’s strike grabbed all three points for The Seasiders in the 90th minute.
The corresponding fixture last season saw Blackpool and Forest share the spoils in an entertaining 2-2 draw at Bloomfield Road in October 2012.
Billy Sharp had put The Reds ahead before second-half goals from Elliot Grandin and Gary Taylor-Fletcher turned the game around and appeared to give the Lancashire side the win.
But Dexter Blackstock popped up in injury time to turn the ball past Matt Gilks and give Forest a deserved point against Ian Holloway’s men.
He Played For Both
David Vaughan joined Blackpool in 2008 from Real Sociedad and helped The Tangerines reach the Premier League during his time at Bloomfield Road. The midfielder made 119 appearances and scored five goals during his spell in Lancashire before moving to Sunderland in 2011.
Vaughan made an initial loan move to Forest from Sunderland in October and has recently rejoined the club on loan until the end of the season. He has currently made six outings for The Reds and helped them to wins over QPR and Leicester in the process.
Referee: Carl Boyeson
Assistant Referees: Matthew Bristow and Karl Evans
Fourth Official: Steven Copeland
Nottingham Forest are the 10/11 favourites to take all three points at Bloomfield Road with the draw being priced at 12/5.
A repeat of last season’s 2-2 draw offers odds of 14/1 while a 2-1 win for free-scoring Forest looks a good price at 15/2.
The Reds haven’t kept a clean sheet in the league since Boxing Day so odds of 3/1 on a Forest win with both teams to score could also be a tempting bet.
Check out all of the latest odds on Sky Bet.
(All odds are subject to change)
Tickets and Travel
Nottingham Forest have sold their full allocation of 2,287 tickets for this fixture. No further tickets will be made available to away supporters.
Coach travel will depart The Brian Clough Stand car park at 8.30am and is priced at £16.
For supporters looking to travel to the match by rail, Nottingham Forest benefit from every rail ticket booked with East Midlands Trains through the official Nottingham Forest website.
On Saturday, the 9.47am service from Nottingham arrives in Blackpool North at 1.05pm which should leave supporters with plenty of time to enjoy all the seaside delights Blackpool has to offer before making the journey across town to Bloomfield Road.
For a full schedule of trains to Blackpool 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 12noon on Sunday, as well as all the reaction from the Forest camp.