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Opposition View: Nottingham Forest

7 March 2017

Nottingham Post's Sarah Clapson on what to expect at The City Ground tonight

How would Nottingham Forest fans reflect on this season so far?

It’s certainly not turned out to be the season most fans were hoping for. There was the usual optimism at the start of the campaign. I don’t think anyone expected a relegation fight, even though they had a lot of new players and a manager at the time, Philippe Montanier, who was new to the Championship.

Just how important was Saturday's 3-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion?

The win over Brighton on Saturday was huge. There’s a six-point gap now between Forest and the bottom three, so it’s given them a nice little cushion. Before that, and after the 0-0 draw at Wigan the previous weekend, the relegation zone was a little bit too close for comfort. It was all a bit nervy. But with those three points there is now a bit of breathing space and more of a reason to be positive. No-one will be taking anything for granted, and Forest certainly can’t afford to be complacent, but it’s eased the pressure a bit.

How much has that win done for morale around the club?

After Saturday I think it’s a lot more positive. That was a superb result and has done a lot to lift spirits. Forest have done pretty well at home this season, particularly under Gary Brazil, but that was one of their biggest results of the season. Not so long ago, with all the off-field issues and a run of poor form, it was pretty dark. But it does feel more upbeat now.

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Are supporters behind the new management team of Gary Brazil and Jack Lester?

It’s actually quite difficult to say because I think there’s a bit of a mixed reaction. Of course, sometimes that depends on results. After the 0-0 draw at Wigan, for instance, Gary Brazil seemed to take quite a bit of flak. Even before kick-off against Brighton, a lot of fans on social media were very critical of his team selection. He’s turned Forest’s form around, so you can’t really argue with that. But I think opinion is still divided about whether he would be a long-term option.

Who are the players to look out for tonight for Forest?

If he plays, Ben Brereton is one to really keep an eye on. He’s a young striker who has been a revelation since breaking into the team. He poses a real threat and offers so much. He’s quick, he can link up well with others and he scores goals. He’s attracted interest from clubs higher up the ladder and certainly looks to be the real deal. Joe Worrall, in central defence, is another youngster who’s come in and done exceptionally well.

Both sides have been in some high scoring games this season, do you see that continuing tonight?

You wouldn’t bet against it! But having said that, I don’t think we will see a goal-fest. Forest have tightened up in defence under Brazil, and two clean sheets in a row will have done them the world of good. They have a lot of attacking talent and can certainly score goals, but whether Brentford give them the opportunities is another matter.

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