A place in the fifth round of the FA Cup with Budweiser is the prize when Nottingham Forest meet Preston North End at The City Ground on Friday night (kick-off 8pm).The Reds will be confident of making it past their League One opponents but will need to be wary of a North End side that dumped Ipswich Town out in the last round.
Preston have not won on Trentside since Pawel Abbott’s goal secured a 1-0 victory in October 2003, while Forest have been successful in two of the last three meetings between the sides.
Jamaal Lascelles is recovering from an injury that kept him out of the 4-1 win over Blackburn Rovers on Saturday but he may not be risked on Friday night.
Eric Lichaj could make a return after missing the games against Bolton and Blackburn but Chris Cohen, Kelvin Wilson and Dexter Blackstock remain long-term absentees.
Preston’s Kevin Davies will miss the game through suspension after he received a straight red card in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Coventry so Paul Gallagher could partner former Red Joe Garner in attack.
Simon Grayson has an otherwise injury-free squad to choose from and the Preston boss may stick with defender Scott Wiseman after handing him his full debut against The Sky Blues at the weekend.
Saturday’s 4-1 thumping of Blackburn stretched Forest’s unbeaten run to ten matches and ensured they kept up the pressure on the Sky Bet Championship’s frontrunners.
The Reds have not been beaten since the 3-2 defeat to Reading on 29 November and know they could be one of the first teams in the hat for the fifth round draw if they can overcome Preston.
QPR (H) – Won 2-0
Leeds (H) – Won 2-1
Reading (A) – Drew 1-1
West Ham (H)* – Won 5-0
Bolton (A) – Drew 1-1
Blackburn (H) – Won 4-1
Preston are on a solid run of form which has seen them lose just one of their last seven matches in all competitions. They currently sit 4th in the Sky Bet League One table.
Kevin Davies had given North End the lead against Coventry on Saturday but, after Davies was red-carded, Franck Moussa fired home in the 96th-minute to give The Sky Blues a share of the spoils.
Simon Grayson’s side provided a minor upset in the third round as they knocked out Championship outfit Ipswich and they will be hoping to do the same to Forest on Friday night.
Shrewsbury (A) – Won 1-0
Port Vale (H) – Won 3-2
Ipswich (A)* – Drew 1-1
Wolves (A) – Lost 2-0
Ipswich (H)* – Won 3-2
Coventry (H) – Drew 1-1
Down The Years
Forest wins over Preston: 30 (27 League, 3 FA Cup)
Preston wins over Forest: 39 (37 League, 2 FA Cup)
Draws: 24 (22 League, 2 FA Cup)
The last meeting between the teams came in February 2011 as they shared the spoils in a thrilling 2-2 draw at The City Ground.
North End’s Barry Nicholson had seen his early strike cancelled out by Paul Konchesky before Chris Cohen grabbed a 92-minute goal which appeared to have given The Reds all three points.
But Preston, who were bottom of the Championship, defied the odds to equalise in the 96th-minute through Billy Jones, leaving Forest frustrated and two points off the automatic promotion slots.
He Played For Both
Kelvin Wilson signed for Preston from Notts County in 2006 and spent over a year at Deepdale. He scored twice for the club, against Stoke and Crystal Palace, before leaving for The City Ground in the summer of 2007.
Wilson was a virtual ever-present as The Reds gained promotion to the Championship and he spent four years on Trentside before moving to Celtic in 2011. The defender returned in the summer summer but has been troubled by a back injury in recent months.
Referee: Michael Dean
Assistant Referees: Gary Beswick and Andrew Fox
Fourth Official: Alan Young
Forest are the overwhelming favourites to progress to the fifth round on Friday night and can be backed at 4/6, while the draw is priced 11/4.
The Reds have been scoring goals and winning games at The City Ground for fun over recent weeks and another 4-1 win for Forest is priced 28/1, while a 3-0 win is slightly shorter at 12/1.
Darius Henderson will be pushing for a place in the starting line-up and he is priced 11/2 to grab the first goal with fellow strikers Simon Cox and Matt Derbyshire 9/2 and 6/1 respectively.
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 Friday’s meeting with Preston.
In this edition, priced £2, fans can read the thoughts of chairman Fawaz Al Hasawi and manager Billy Davies, Kelvin Wilson talks about his long road back from injury and there is an in-depth look at the return of former Reds striker Joe Garner.
Forest fans are reminded they can download the official matchday magazine to their iPad. Perfect for supporters unable to attend the game, the download can be accessed via this app from 7pm onwards on Friday.
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 12pm on Saturday, as well as all the reaction from the Forest camp.
Tickets 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).