Can Nottingham Forest follow up their magnificent FA Cup win with another fine display against Aston Villa? Mark O'Haire previews the encounter.
"Fifth-placed Villa have W5-D3-L2 on their travels when excluding the current top-three."
Nottingham Forest v Aston Villa
Saturday 13th January, 17:30
Live on Sky Sports
Nottingham Forest's new era
Nottingham Forest registered a surprise 4-2 win over Arsenal in the FA Cup. The Tricky Trees axed Mark Warburton as manager on New Year's Eve but caretaker boss Gary Brazil guided the group to a famous City Ground triumph with Eric Lichaj notching a rare brace, plus Ben Brereton and Kieran Dowell scoring from the spot.
The club have now appointed Aitor Karanka as manager - Forest's boss 10th full-time boss since Billy Davies' dismissal in June 2011 - and fans will be hoping the Spaniard can steer towards a more positive position following a run of just one victory in their last seven league outings.
Joe Worrall was shown a red card in the closing stages against Arsenal and will be banned on Saturday evening whilst seven-goal striker Daryl Murphy should be fit enough to return to the squad after failing to recover in time for the FA Cup contest.
Aston Villa aim to bounce back
Steve Bruce said, "the best team won by a country mile" as Aston Villa suffered FA Cup elimination at home to Peterborough last weekend. The Claret & Blue boss made 10 changes and even saw his side take an early advantage through youngster Keinan Davis before conceding three late goals.
The League One club fired in 20 efforts at goal, a statistic that irked Bruce, in a match that saw John Terry make his long-awaited comeback from a broken metatarsal. Striker Scott Hogan missed the tie but is hoping to be fit for Saturday's league game but Andre Green and Henri Lansbury aren't yet available.
The Villans are hoping to enter the transfer market for a striker and a central midfielder but Bruce might not be able to spend large transfer fees with the visitors now under the Financial Fair Play spotlight.
Win or bust for Forest
Aston Villa [2.50] beat Nottingham Forest 2-1 at Villa Park earlier this season although the Villans haven't achieved a league double over the Tricky Trees since the 1992/93 Premier League campaign. In fact, the guests haven't claimed maximum points at the City Ground since 1995 (W0-D3-L1).
Nevertheless, Steve Bruce's boys will fancy their chances having lost just twice in 10 games, winning their last two against Bristol City and Middlesbrough by an aggregate score of 6-0. Indeed, fifth-placed Villa have also W5-D3-L2 on their travels when excluding the current top-three.
This match has the potential to be a case of After the Lord Mayor's show for Nottingham Forest [2.92]. The hosts have lost three of their last four Championship encounters here, failing to score in each defeat, and are winless in their last five league fixtures.
It's been either win or bust for the Tricky Trees at the City Ground this term, with Forest claiming seven wins but also six defeats in 13 games and their one point return from a possible 21 against top-six sides is obviously concerning.
Entertaining affair on offer
Nottingham Forest have failed to find the net in each of their last three league matches, last enduring a longer run in December 2011, and although Aitor Karanka is renowned for his ability to organise his defence and keep clean sheets, the trends suggest goals will be on the agenda on Saturday.
There have been 34 goals plundered in 13 City Ground matches this season, making Over 2.5 Goals an attractive proposition at around [2.20]. Considering Aston Villa rarely draw a blank - netting in 10 of their last 12 league dates - supporting a goal-heavy game appeals.
Staked: 215.00 pts
Returned: 240.03 pts
P/L: +25.30 pts
Back Over 2.5 Goals @ [2.20] in Nottingham Forest v Aston Villa
Back Aston Villa draw no bet @ [1.80] in Nottingham Forest v Aston Villa