Nottingham Forest go into the final game of the season knowing that just one point will be enough to secure their play-off spot against Stoke City.
The Potters have nothing to play for as they confirmed their league status with an impressive 1-0 victory over promotion hopefuls Brentford on the weekend.
Where and When?
Nottingham Forest vs Stoke City, Wednesday 22nd July at The City Ground, kick off 7:30pm.
Although Sabri Lamouchi’s side have all but secured a top-six spot, they have made hard work of it having not won in five league games (three draws and two losses).
It would have to be a remarkable turn of events if Forest were to drop out of the playoff spots, due to their superior goal difference over Swansea City who lie in seventh.
However, Lamouchi will be hoping to gain some momentum heading into the playoffs as they’ll either face West Brom, Brentford or Fulham in the semi-
On the other side of the dugout will be Michael O’Neill who has done a miraculous job since taking over the Potters in November.
The former Northern Ireland manager joined the club when they sat rock-bottom of the Championship with just eight points from 15 games but has since guided them to safety with 45 points from 30 league games.
Lamouchi may recall Joe Lolley and Sammy Ameobi to the starting line-up following their 1-0 defeat to Barnsley on the weekend.
Matty Cash seems to have recovered from his injury but the defender is expected to be rested for the play-offs.
The Potters have a fully-fit squad but will be without Mame Diouf who requested to be released before the final game of the season.
Stoke are expected to name an unchanged team after their brilliant performance on Saturday.
Previous League Meetings
27/09/19 Stoke City 2-3 Notts Forest
02/03/19 Stoke City 2-0 Notts Forest
10/10/18 Notts Forest 0-0 Stoke City
01/01/05 Notts Forest 1-0 Stoke City
18/09/04 Stoke City 0-0 Notts Forest
Although they haven’t impressed since the restart, I am still going with a Forest win as they’ll be looking to get a much-needed confidence boost to set them up for a tough playoff semi-final.
Meanwhile, the Potters haven’t won away from home in nine games and I can’t see them gaining anything from The City Ground tomorrow.
Match Preview written by Jon Bazley