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Forest need to earn support

12 April 2017

Mark Warburton says the fans can make the difference against Blackburn Rovers on Friday but his side need to earn their backing with a good performance.

Three points at The City Ground on Good Friday would see Nottingham Forest move eight points clear of their opponents and the relegation zone, and Warburton is aware that his side needs to respect Rovers but also build on Saturday’s win over Huddersfield.

He said: “We face an opponent who play us on Friday and Bristol City on the Monday, and if you are sat in their dressing you are thinking you can go a long way to safety with two good performances. We are aware and respectful of them; yes, we are at home in front of a packed City Ground and on the back of a good performance but we have to respect them. 

“The support [on Saturday] was tremendous and it is never taken for granted. You have to earn that backing and there were a couple of meaty challenges early on in the game against Huddersfield which set the tone for desire, commitment and work ethic. The fans responded to that and you saw a real desire, with and without the ball. 

“It will be an expectant City Ground on Friday. On the back of a good performance, the fans will expect another strong display. That has got to be our goal; if we perform well hopefully the results will flow but we face a determined opponent who will see it as a last chance saloon almost in these two games. We will prepare well, train well and look after ourselves and go into the game full of confidence. 

“It will be a different dynamic. That is part of the preparation to recognise what you face on and off the pitch. The expectation will be there and the significance of the game is there for all to see. A win would put us eight points clear which is a huge gap at this stage of the season with other teams then playing each other. We just need to focus on our performance, deliver a high level and hopefully get the three points and move forward.”

Danny Fox is set to return to the squad after completing his suspension and Armand Traore is also fit after limping out of the win over Huddersfield. The Reds secured a vital three points against The Terriers and Warburton believes Blackburn will arrive on Trentside determined to drag teams back into the relegation fight. 

He said: “It was a well-deserved victory and you enjoy that moment but, in truth, it is a short period with two important games coming up. It is the business end of the season and a critical stage of the season for all the clubs and we are aware of that.

“We expect a fierce competitor. Tony has gone in there as a very experienced manager and they had a good initial reaction. They have probably been hard done by on a couple of recent performances where the fine margins have gone against them and they will view their two games as a chance to drag teams back into it.  

“You respect your opponent but it is about us. We will look at what we think gives us the best chance of victory. Every game is a must win game. The only focus for us is Friday, on Blackburn and getting the three points. They will come here and give it a go as they know if they lose these two games they will be in trouble. They will come here, with the quality they have and their manager, and give it a good crack.”

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