Nottingham Forest face Ipswich Town at Portman Road tomorrow, as they look to keep their Championship play-off hopes alive.
The Reds are looking for their first away win of the year against an Ipswich side who have been much-improved of late, picking up points against promotion hopefuls West Bromwich Albion and Bristol City.
Boss Martin O’Neill will be fully aware that the Reds realistically need three points to keep their play-off hopes alive.
The game won’t be easy though against a side seemingly playing with freedom having accepted they are likely to be competing in League One next season.
Ahead of tomorrow’s game, Seat Pitch has taken a look at three keys towards a Forest victory.
With the Reds having been bullied against Aston Villa in midweek, Martin O’Neill is likely to add some physicality to the side.
The Reds need to produce a similar performance to what saw them come close to securing three points at West Brom and Preston North End.
Reinstating Daryl Murphy to the starting line-up would be one way of doing this. The 36-year-old missed out in midweek as Karim Ansarifard was given a rare start.
Murphy will certainly be motivated for this game against his former club. He’ll relish the opportunity of a physical battle against Luke Chambers.
It certainly hasn’t been a great season at Portman Road. But one player who has made a positive impact since joining in January is Alan Judge.
The 30-year-old midfielder has been hugely impressive for the Tractor Boys recently. He is a key reason behind their upturn in form.
There’s no doubt that he will be the biggest threat to Forest’s goal at the weekend. His ability to score spectacular long-range strikes, as well as his exemplary delivery from set-pieces and open play, make him a dangerous player.
In most games, the midfielder has mainly been utilised on the left. This means it will be Tendayi Darikwa’s responsibility to limit his influence on proceedings.
The Reds still haven’t won away from home since they beat Hull City on 24 November. One of the main reasons behind this has been their inability to make a good start away from the City Ground.
This issue was evident again in the recent defeat to Stoke City. The Potters took the lead after just 15 minutes through Peter Etebo after a lapse in concentration in defence.
Together with the fact the Reds are yet to win a game from behind this season, it has made life very difficult on the road.
O’Neill will be hoping his side can get an early goal this weekend to boost their confidence. If they can, then they’ll be hugely fancied to secure the three points.