Bournemouth prepared for key contest
Bournemouth chief Scott Parker has urged his players to stay "level" and "cool" ahead of Tuesday's monumental clash with Nottingham Forest at the Vitality Stadium. The Dorset club kept their three-point cushion on the Tricky Trees in the race for second spot in the Championship and automatic promotion, with a 3-0 victory over Blackburn on Saturday.
Phillip Billing scored twice and Dominic Solanke netted his 30th goal of the season in the victory over Rovers at Ewood Park. With Forest thrashing Swansea, it leaves both sides with two games of their league campaign remaining, however, Bournemouth know victory over their midweek opponents would guarantee their path back to the Premier League.
Speaking post-match on Saturday, Parker said: We have the opportunity. A positive result and a win gets us promoted. What we have done throughout this season has been very process-driven and very clear minded about what we need to do and how we need to go about things. That's not going to change between now and Tuesday night."
Forest thrash Swansea
Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper admitted he would like to have seen his side score more despite smashing Swansea 5-1 at a raucous City Ground on Saturday. Sam Surridge's first career hat-trick helped the Tricky Trees to top honours with an own goal and Alex Mighten strike also contributing as the Reds racked up 17 shots on-target overall.
Cooper was delighted with his team's display but felt they could have been more clinical. He said, "I thought we were excellent, the game plan came off perfectly. 5-1 is obviously a great result, but to be honest it could have been more, it should have been 5-1 at half-time. I don't say that disrespectfully, everyone saw it. It was chance, after chance, after chance."
Since the Welshman took charge in September, Forest have won more points - 75 - than any other Championship team over the same period and head to the south coast having claimed maximum points in 10 of their most recent 11 second-tier showdowns to close the gap on Bournemouth to just three points, with the visitors boasting the better goal difference.
Recent meetings between Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest have been fairly level affairs with the Cherries taking a slight W3-D2-L2 head-to-head advantage in league matches at Championship level since 2013. The hosts also own a solid W4-D1-L1 return when welcoming the Tricky Trees to Dean Court this century.
Bournemouth 2.245/4 enjoyed a club-record unbeaten start to the season, avoiding defeat in their opening 15 fixtures. However, the Cherries stuttered thereafter before finding a degree of consistency again from Christmas; Scott Parker's posse have pocketed W11-D6-L4 in their last 21 but have failed to succeed in four of their last six home outings (W2-D4-L0).
Nottingham Forest 3.259/4 have been transformed since Steve Cooper arrived in September. The former Swansea boss has guided the Reds from rock-bottom into promotion contention, returning the most league points during that sample (W22-D9-L5). The Tricky Trees have been turned over once in 15 (W11-D3-L1) and lost just three road trips since September.
Cooper's troops make Asian Handicap appeal
Bournemouth's home Championship battles at Dean Court have largely tended to fun affairs. The Cherries have seen an average of 2.86 goals per-game with 14/21 (67%) matches producing profitable Over 2.5 Goals 2.245/4 selections. However, the high-stakes nature of Tuesday night's tussle makes the Under 2.5 Goals are more appealing option at 1.758/11.
Instead of opposing goals, I'm happier to support Nottingham Forest +0 & 0.5 in the Asian Handicap market at 1.9010/11. The Reds have been a match for most during Steve Cooper's tutorship - losing just five times in 36 Championship outings - and should be capable of keeping Bournemouth in-check. If Forest avoid defeat, we'll make money.