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Feb 12, 2022 at 3pm UK
Nott'm ForestNottingham Forest
StokeStoke City
Johnson (56'), Yates (90+1')
Lowe (7'), Davis (18'), Garner (52')
Samba (85')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Maja (68'), Baker (88' pen.)
Wilmot (33'), Clucas (81'), Allen (90+1')

Preview: Nottingham Forest vs. Stoke City - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Nottingham Forest vs. Stoke City - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship clash between Nottingham Forest and Stoke City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Nottingham Forest square off against Stoke City on Saturday afternoon looking to strengthen their position in the Championship playoffs.

While Forest sit five places clear of their next opponents, the Potters are just four points adrift with one game in hand on their East Midlands hosts.

Match preview

Having reached the middle of September without recording a league win, Forest supporters would been comfortable with their team avoiding relegation during 2021-22.

However, Steve Cooper has spearheaded the most remarkable of turnarounds, the 42-year-old losing just four of his 24 matches in charge and keeping the club in line for their most successful campaign over the past two decades.

Defeating Arsenal and Leicester City in the FA Cup has created headlines, but it is results such as the 2-0 win away at Blackburn Rovers on Wednesday night which are far more important in the long run.

Forest now occupy sixth position in the standings, a playoff spot being more than acceptable right now, but the East Midlands giants only sit nine points adrift of second place.

Although Cooper will want to keep everyone's feet on the ground, Forest are undeniably the dark horses for automatic promotion having collected 21 points from their last 10 Championship fixtures.

Forest are the clear favourites to see off Stoke at the weekend, but Michael O'Neill will feel that his Potters side are back on track after two convincing wins.

After posting a 2-0 triumph over Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup, Stoke followed that victory by overcoming Swansea City by a 3-0 scoreline in the league.

Jacob Brown scored for the third game in a row, the 23-year-old now having nine strikes for the campaign having established himself as first choice in attack.

At a time when Forest have won four of their last five games at the City Ground, Stoke have recently collected seven points from a possible 12 on their travels.

Nottingham Forest Championship form:
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W

Nottingham Forest form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W

Stoke City Championship form:
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • W

Stoke City form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • W

Team News

Cooper went with a defensive-minded midfield three against Blackburn in midweek, introducing Jack Colback for Philip Zinckernagel.

However, there could be a role reversal on Saturday with the latter returning to the Forest front three, and that may be the only change to the team.

Despite playing the final 21 minutes at Ewood Park, Sam Surridge will almost certainly remain among the replacements due to the form of Keinan Davis.

While there is scope for Stoke switching to a back three, O'Neill could stick with the same formation which proved effective against Swansea, even before their opponents were reduced to 10 men.

Tyrese Campbell will miss out with a knee injury, so either Josh Maja or D'Margio Wright-Phillips will be drafted into the side.

Nottingham Forest possible starting lineup:
Samba; Worrall, Cook, McKenna; Spence, Yates, Garner, Lowe; Zinckernagel, Davis, Johnson

Stoke City possible starting lineup:
Bursik; Wilmot, Jagielka, Harwood-Bellis, Tymon; Baker, Allen; Brown, Powell, Philogene-Bidace; Maja

We say: Nottingham Forest 2-1 Stoke City

Having found some form in front of goal, Stoke will be confident of making an impact at the City Ground. However, we cannot back against Forest right now, and it would come as a surprise if Cooper's team did not collect all three points from a hard-fought contest.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 2.5:data

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Championship Table
3Blackburn RoversBlackburn32159845331254
4Queens Park RangersQPR32158947371053
5Huddersfield TownHuddersfield33141184235753
6Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd31148943331050
8Luton TownLuton3113994336748
9Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest311381043331047
10Coventry CityCoventry31138104036447
11West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom321210103428646
12Preston North EndPreston331112103738-145
13Stoke CityStoke31128114034644
16Bristol City33117154459-1540
17Swansea CitySwansea31108133243-1138
18Birmingham CityBirmingham33910143951-1237
19Cardiff CityCardiff32106163951-1236
20Hull City3397172737-1034
22Derby CountyDerby321012103335-221
23Peterborough UnitedPeterborough3156202361-3821
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