Nottingham Forest head coach Philippe Montanier is hoping his side can start another positive run of results, starting with the trip to Huddersfield Town on Boxing Day.
Montanier is aiming to bounce back from a disappointing defeat against Wolves last time out and is excited for his first taste of festive football.
He said: “It is my first time for a game on Boxing Day. In France we have a break for Christmas and this is a good experience for me. I would not rather have a break; I am excited to play.
“I think it shows that English people like football. In France you go and walk in the woods for example, but here after a Christmas lunch you go and watch a football game. It is a good moment for the families to spend time together and it is a good tradition.
“Huddersfield are a very good team with a good control of the game. They have a good technical level with a good attack. They are in good form having won the last three games and are a team that likes to play football. They can attack quickly but often have a good passing game.
“They are a team that play well in the Championship. They are similar to Reading, with a similar style different to English football. That makes it difficult as they have been playing at a good level, but we need to recover points and start another positive run.
“We had three important games and we didn’t play well, it wasn’t too bad but not enough to get a result like in the Wolves game. The players were disappointed especially after the three victories as we had a good opportunity to go up the league, but we didn’t do it and we have to learn. We need to be more focused and I hope to recover some injured players to help the team and improve our level.”
Montanier received a double-boost as Britt Assombalonga returned to training this week after missing the last three games with a hamstring injury, putting him in contention for the match at the John Smith’s Stadium, and the striker also ruled himself out of the African Cup of Nations to focus on his recovery from injury.
Montanier said: “It is Britt’s decision to not got to the national team and I think it is a good decision. He needs to recover his fitness, not just for one or two games but more consistently. I had a discussion with the national team coach and he said it would be best for Britt as he needs to be fit for several months.
“For that it is a good decision and he has started the week with the group without a problem; we have a few more training sessions before Huddersfield but it is good news that he is fit this week.
“We need all the good players. We know we have a lot of good players off injured and when you recover one or two you need it as they give a good level to the team. Nicklas will be back as he was sick before the game but he is better now, and I hope we will have Thomas Lam and Damien Perquis. We will see on Friday and Saturday about them.
“I am prudent but Britt trained normally at the beginning of the week. Every time that Britt is in the squad he has helped the team, often he has scored, and for that it is important that he plays against Huddersfield. I hope he can be part of the squad. But we cannot pin all our hope on Britt. It is a team game. Yes, Britt is a scorer and he is clinical but we need a team with a good player like Britt. He can play as part of the team to get a result.”