Hughton to make it two from two
Nottingham Forest 1.9110/11 v Rotherham 4.77/2; The Draw 3.711/4
Following a disastrous start to the campaign, Nottingham Forest are finally off the mark. The Tricky Trees edged out Blackburn in a scrappy affair at Ewood Park, with Joe Lolley's deflected injury time strike beating Thomas Kaminski. Having out-shot the Lancastrians 16-6, and with Sammy Ameobi's effort crashing back off the woodwork, the visitors undoubtedly deserved to take something from the contest. It was the perfect start for new manager Chris Hughton who admitted that he would have been satisfied with a point, so the fact that his side battled their way to all three, will have undoubtedly have delighted the former Brighton boss.
Hughton appears to be a savvy appointment by the Forest hierarchy, who haven't always made the right decisions when it comes to hiring and firing. The 61-year-old is a hugely affable presence who is respected throughout the game, and is a terrific man-manager. He is always keen to stress the importance of working as a team, and his post-comments were littered with words such as 'we' and 'us'. The players already appear to be responding to his way of working, and although some fans were initially sceptical about the inclusion of divisive Ryan Yates, the Nottingham-born midfielder turned in a match-winning performance on Saturday afternoon.
Cyrus Christie was a constant nuisance down the right-hand side, and goalscorer Joe Lolley also looked like a man reborn in East Lancashire. Hughton has a hefty squad at his disposal, and although one of his biggest challenges is to keep the majority of the fringe players happy and motivated, it does offer him the chance to make changes over the next couple of weeks. With an East Midlands derby on the horizon, the boss will be keen to ensure that his side don't pick up any injuries ahead of that upcoming crucial clash the City Ground.
Prior to their defeat, Blackburn had been largely free-scoring, and Forest must be commended for restricting them to just two shots on target throughout the entire 90 minutes. The defence has rarely been an issue over the last twelve months, although the arrival of Scott McKenna gives their back-line an extra layer of stability. However, it's at the other end of the field where things had gone a little stale prior to Hughton's arrival.
They'd managed just seven shots on target in their opening three Championship outings, and although they were much improved against Bristol City a fortnight ago, they found Robins keeper Daniel Bentley in inspired form.
Rotherham's game also featured late drama, although it was the Millers who were on the receiving end of it. Norwich left it late to sink the 10-men, with Paul Warne's side appearing to have done enough to earn themselves a potentially precious point until a moment of madness offered Jordan Hugill the chance to convert from 12 yards. They will be without Angus MacDonald for this clash, with the former Hull man earning himself a straight red for a dangerous tackle with 20 minutes left to play. Despite the defeat, the South Yorkshire side battled well with Dan Barlaser, Shaun MacDonald and Matt Crooks all performing well in midfield.
Goals have been a big problem for Warne's men this season, and they are yet to register more than a single strike in any of their opening five Championship matches. Freddie Ladapo's penalty miss was a blow, and they haven't got long to recover from the heartbreak of a 95th minute defeat. They will provide an aerial threat, and they are always dangerous from set pieces, however, Forest look very assured at the back, and with the aforementioned Scott McKenna providing a commanding presence in both boxes, they may have to find another route to goal instead.
The Millers won't make it easy for the hosts, and they will give everything to stay in the game. However, Forest have far more match-winners in their XI, and that is likely to prove the difference on Tuesday night. The East Midlands can be backed at 1.9110/11 on the Exchange to make it back-to-back wins for the first time since late-June.
Coventry and Swansea to trade blows
Coventry 1.784/5 v Swansea 5.14/1; The Draw 3.814/5
Coventry slipped to successive Championship defeats for the first time as they were comfortably beaten 2-0 by Brentford. Manager Mark Robins suggested that his side need to play with a little more confidence, and that they may also need to concentrate on producing more positive football. It was a fairly listless display from the recently promoted side, who are still trying to find their feet at this level. They did hit the woodwork, but their failure to produce any other clear-cut chances will have frustrated Robins and his coaching staff.
The Sky Blues have now faced recently relegated Bournemouth and last season's play-off finalists Brentford, and although the prospect of coming up against a decent Swansea outfit is a little daunting, they may find things a significantly easier on Tuesday night. Robins has suggested that the Welshmen are a 'different category of team', and he will be confident that his side can get something from this tie. Whilst they've been fairly blunt on the road, they've look far more threatening at St. Andrews. Although it will never be their home, they look comfortable in these surroundings, and having plundered all four of their goals at this venue so far, they should be able to get on the score-sheet once again.
Although Gustavo Hamer remains suspended, Robins is unlikely to do too much tinkering ahead of this tie, despite Saturday's defeat in West London. Callum O'Hare is always a threat, whilst Matt Godden is likely to lead the line once again. Ryan Giles offered an outlet down the left at the weekend, and his forward runs should cause the Swansea defence plenty of issues throughout the 90 minutes.
Swansea slipped to their first defeat of the campaign on Saturday as Steve Cooper's men were beaten by an improving Huddersfield outfit. Although they had the lion's share of the game, they weren't able to produce too many clear-cut chances, with Jamal Lowe proving wasteful in front of goal. Despite dominating throughout, they always looked susceptible at the back, and this can't be entirely pinned on the departure of Joe Rodon, although the young defender's exit has certainly left a gaping hole in a previously resolute back three.
On a more positive note, Korey Smith and Matt Grimes combined well in midfield, and although they were unusually profligate at the Liberty on Saturday, their ability to create openings and find space should enable them to expose Kyle McFadzean's lack of pace.
Swansea have beaten Coventry in all three of the previous meetings between these sides, but the hosts are made of stern stuff, and they will be expecting to take something from this game. Robins is likely to deploy a more attack-minded set-up and will surely demand that his team play on the front foot. Backing Both Teams to Score at 1.865/6 on the Exchange looks like the best option at St.Andrews.
Hornets to continue their run of narrow victories
Watford 2.1211/10 v Blackburn 3.8514/5; The Draw 3.412/5
"It wasn't pretty, but we did our job" was the standout quote from Vladimir Ivic's post-match press conference on Friday night as the Serbian watched his side collect their third 1-0 win of the campaign. It's fairly simple to see how the Hertfordshire side will approach games this year, and their rock-solid back-line has rarely looked like being breached so far.
The Hornets only defeat of the season came against Reading, and there are questions marks about Ivic's ability to turn games around if his side find themselves behind. However, if the recently relegated side are able to take full control of proceedings, and dictate the pace of the game, then they usually come out on top.
Will Hughes is set to make his long-awaited return in the coming weeks, and that may add a little more dynamism to the midfield, although both Tom Cleverley and Domingos Quina have looked comfortable at this level in recent weeks. Ben Foster is still a terrific Championship stopper, whilst Ben Wilmot will have come on leaps and bounds as a result of his recent loan spell in South Wales.
Resilience is certainly a word that you'd associate with this Watford side, and it's difficult to see them taking a alternative approach for this midweek match-up with Blackburn Rovers. They've only allowed their last four opponents a combined six shots on target, with Luton Town unable to test Foster at all when the two sides met at end of September.
The visitors struggled to find a way past a dogged and determined Nottingham Forest side at the weekend, and Tony Mowbray's attack-minded outfit could come up short here yet again. They will push and probe and ask plenty of questions, but they could easily become frustrated as they struggle to create meaningful opportunities. Mowbray appeared very downbeat at the weekend, suggesting that his side failed to fire, and just didn't really turn up. Although he is likely to make a couple of changes ahead of this one, it may not be enough to get them back to winning ways.
Following a lightning-quick start, they've now drawn successive blanks, and having managed just two efforts on goal at the weekend, they will need to recapture those early season performances which saw them ease past Wycombe and Derby.
The home side are likely to stick with the same system, and that should be effective enough to collect all three points on Wednesday evening. Don't be surprised if they register yet another clean sheet too, and if they manage to open the scoring in this one, it may be a long and frustrating 90 minutes for Mowbray's men. Watford can be backed at 2.1211/10 on the Exchange, and that appears to be extremely good value.
You can follow Jack Critchley on Twitter @jcritch7