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Match Previews

Preview: Bolton (A)

5 May 2018

The 2017-18 season draws to a close on Sunday as Nottingham Forest make the trip to the Macron Stadium to take on a relegation-threatened Bolton Wanderers (kick-off 12.30pm).

The Reds have the luxury of being safe from any fears of the drop going into the final round of fixtures, a contrast to last season, and face a Bolton side needing all three points to stand a chance of securing safety.

Aitor Karanka's side finished the home campaign on a positive note with a three-game unbeaten run, defeating Ipswich Town and Barnsley before a goalless draw with Bristol City, and The Reds will be looking to equally end the campaign away from home with a result.

Bolton come into the game in 23rd place, one point from safety, and must win to leapfrog their nearest rivals should they drop points. A seven-game winless run, however, has seen confidence sap from Phil Parkinson's side - including defeats against relegation rivals Birmingham and Burton and conceding a last-gasp equaliser against Barnsley - and The Trotters will be hoping that they can prevent an immediate return to League One.

See below for the pre-match views from the Forest camp.

Team news

Aitor Karanka has no fresh injury worries heading into the final game of the season. Tobias Figueiredo, David Vaughan and Juan Rafael Fuentes all remain sidelined through injury.

Jack Hobbs could be given a chance to impress at the heart of the Forest defence, while Andreas Bouchalakis will be keen to keep hold of his shirt after an impressive performance against Bristol City last time out.

From the opposition

Bolton boss Phil Parkinson said that his side will fight right until the end of the game to try and preserve their Championship status.

The Trotters need to get the three points to stand a chance of staying in the division and Parkinson feels that his side will be best focusing on what they need to do.

Speaking to Bolton's official website, he said: "We know it is an important weekend for us. We know we still have a good chance and we have to do our bit and hope other results go our way.

"All we can focus on is getting the result ourselves and hopefully a few favours are done for us elsewhere.

"Forest have been playing a 4-3-3 but they might make changes. It is more about focusing on what we feel we need to do to give ourselves the best chance of winning the game.

"I firmly believe that we can pick a team capable of doing that and we need to show that enthusiasm.

"Not only that, the kind of mentality if it doesn't go our way straight away, a goal goes against us or a referee decision goes to our opponents, that we don't let our heads drop.

"We've got to drive through right to end of the game. Even if it's 1-0 down with five minutes to go, we can still score two goals in the last five minutes.

"Hopefully, we will be up in the game and that won't be the case. But we have to have that mentality that we drive right to the end."

One to watch - Sammy Ameobi

Arguably Bolton's most creative talent, Sammy Ameobi will have to be on top of his game on Sunday to try and drag The Trotters out of the bottom three.

The former Newcastle winger signed permanently for Bolton at the start of the season having helped guide them back into the Championship during a loan spell, and he will hope to have a part to play in keeping them in the second tier.

Last visit

Tickets

There are no more tickets available for Nottingham Forest supporters for Sunday's game after the club's allocation sold out last weekend.

After the initial batch of 2,145 tickets sold out on Saturday, the club requested a further allocation from Bolton but unfortunately this application was unsuccessful.

Coverage

The game will be broadcast live on iFollow Forest for international subscribers, with audio commentary also available.

Full match coverage will also be provided via the club's official social media channels and in the Match Centre.

Around the league

Forest can have a big say in the relegation battle at the bottom of the Championship as, realistically, Bolton must beat The Reds at the Macron Stadium to stand any chance of survival.

Sunderland's relegation to League One has already been confirmed with Bolton and Burton Albion  making up the bottom three heading into the final day.

Every side up to Reading who are in 19th place could still go down, with Bolton on 40 points (-36 goal difference), Burton (-42) and Barnsley (-21) on 41 points and Birmingham City (-32) and Reading (-22) on 43 points.

The Trotters must win, with Barnsley having a far superior goal difference, so three points combined with Barnsley or Burton dropping points, or a defeat for Birmingham with a four-goal swing, would keep them up.

Click here for the full final-day permutations at both ends of the Championship and across the rest of the EFL. 

Other fixtures

All fixtures to be played at 12.30pm on Sunday:

Birmingham v Fulham
Brentford v Hull
Bristol City v Sheffield United
Cardiff v Reading
Derby v Barnsley
Ipswich v Middlesbrough
Leeds v QPR
Millwall v Aston Villa
Preston v Burton
Sheffield Wednesday v Norwich
Sunderland v Wolves


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