Nottingham Forest look to continue their play-off push against visiting Coventry City


Nottingham Forest welcome Mark Robins’ Coventry City side to The City Ground on Wednesday evening as The Reds attempt to move into the play-off places.

Steve Cooper’s men enjoyed a resounding return to action after the latest international break, crushing Blackpool at Bloomfield Road. With results not quite going their way at the weekend, Forest had initially been in the top six but following the three o’clock fixtures, they soon dropped out.

However, now just a point off sixth place and with at least one game in hand over their promotion rivals, Forest’s destiny lies in their own hands. Despite their resurgence in form since September, Cooper’s men are still playing catch up because of their poor start to the season which left them winless until late September.

Robins’ Coventry side will provide another stern test of Forest’s promotion credentials. Still, not quite out of the playoff reckoning, the Sky Blues bagged a crucial point on Saturday, coming from behind to score a 99th-minute equaliser against Blackburn Rovers.

Having initially gone one goal up through a Rovers own goal, they were conceding two points until a late, late show from Swedish striker Viktor Gyökeres salvaged a point.

Coventry have already beaten Forest this season, despite going a goal down at home.

The Sky Blues turned things around in the final moments of the game to not only grab an equaliser but took all three points in injury time during the two-one win.

This time, Robins’s men will find themselves up against a very different Forest outfit under Cooper.

Now playing a much more progressive style of football than under the more cautious Chris Hughton, Forest are currently unbeaten in the league since late January.

Whilst Forest scored another four goals at the weekend, they were boosted by the return of Scott McKenna who came through the 90 minutes unscathed against Blackpool.

McKenna has been one of the standout performers for Forest this season and their signing from Aberdeen at the beginning of the 2020-21 campaign continues to grow in stature and influence at the club.

The Scottish international has come through an initial challenging period in his first season where we struggled with a string of injuries. However, almost an ever-present this season,  he has gone under the radar to some degree with the likes of Djed Spence and Brennan Johnson stealing the headlines.

Whilst Forest are scoring plenty of goals, they are barely conceding and with McKenna alongside Joe Worrall, Steve Cook and now Tobias Figueiredo grasping his opportunity, McKenna’s form will not go unnoticed for too much longer.

The Scot has all the attributes to become a top Championship defender, with his ability in the air, winning a high percentage of his aerial duels.

Defensively, his positioning and timing of the challenge for a big man have seen him become a huge fan favourite on the banks of the River Trent.

The element that McKenna has developed most this season however has been his passing game. Playing on the left-hand side of a three-man defence under Cooper, all those in Forest’s backline have been given more licence to move forwards with the ball and progress into oppositional areas.

This was personified on Saturday as McKenna picked up an assist for Sam Surridge as he scored Forest’s final goal in their 4-1 win by the seaside.

In seasons gone by, Forest sides have crumbled under the pressure when the going has gotten tough. With expectations certainly rising,  Cooper insists his players should continue to embrace and enjoy the challenges ahead in the coming month as Forest aims to achieve promotion to the Premier League.

Finding themselves in a position of strength, Cooper continues to maintain that nobody is getting carried away and that his side must only concentrate on what is ahead of them. With two play-off campaigns secured during his first two seasons, Forest are at the least, in experienced hands with the Welshman.


If Coventry are to keep their season alive, they will fully deserve a crack at the playoffs if they can defy the odds at The City Ground on Wednesday evening.


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