Nottingham Forest v QPR
Wednesday March 16, 19:45
Forest thrash Reading
Nottingham Forest moved to within two points of the Championship play-off positions after an excellent 4-0 thrashing of Reading at the City Ground on Saturday. The Reds showed little sign of fatigue in their third match in eight days as a Keinan Davis brace, as well as goals from Ryan Yates and Sam Surridge secured a dominant success for the hosts.
However, injuries to defensive pair Max Lowe and Steve Cook put a dampener on the afternoon for the Tricky Trees. The latter has made a major impact since arriving in January, providing the foundation for Forest's preferred three-man defensive. Now neither Cook nor Lowe look likely to feature in midweek and Steve Cooper will need to shuffle his pack.
Nevertheless, Cook was delighted with his team's efforts on Saturday. He said, "It was a brilliant start to the game, not just because we scored but because of how we scored. It was a brilliant second goal from Keinan - and the third and fourth were equally good. We got into good positions and, when we do that, we know we have the technical ability to score."
QPR battle back at Luton
QPR boss Mark Warburton said Rangers' 2-1 win over Luton at Kenilworth Road on Sunday was one to savour as his side moved up to fourth spot in the Championship table. The R's had been on a poor run, winning once in their previous seven to slip out of the top-six, but showed character to battle back from a goal down and secure maximum points.
Second-half goals from Andre Gray and Rob Dickie clinched victory and Warburton admitted the criticism his players have faced in served as motivation. He said, "We've had this 'massive' dip, people have been writing us off, but we are here fourth in the table. I think most people expected us to lose. Given the comments I was surprised we even turned up."
Warburton left Chris Willock out of the starting line-up before his introduction in the second half saw him deliver the corner that was scored by Dickie. Willock has been nursing a knee injury in recent weeks, although the QPR chief suggested the move was tactical. The playmaker could return here, whilst Lyndon Dykes remains an injury doubt for the guests.
Nottingham Forest boast a phenomenally strong record at home to QPR. The Tricky Trees have suffered a solitary reverse in 37 head-to-head showdowns with Rangers at the City Ground, and at one point the Reds' enjoyed the best record at a single stadium against a selected opponent in EFL history. However, that sole victory did arrive as recently as 2018.
Nottingham Forest 2.1011/10 sit second in the Championship based on results since Steve Cooper took charge (W14-D9-L4). Three of the four defeats have come against top-eight rivals with the Reds returning W4-D5-L7 when facing top-half teams across the whole campaign. The hosts have W8-D4-L2 across their past 14 City Ground outings.
QPR 4.003/1 remain in the midst of their worst run of results this season. Rangers have tasted top honours just twice three times in the Championship (W3-D3-L4) since mid-January, with the visitors having lost and failed to score in three of their most recent four road trips. Nevertheless, the Hoops have W8-D2-L4 when travelling to teams outside the top-five.
City Ground showdowns have tended to be fun affairs for Nottingham Forest fans under Steve Cooper. The Reds have only twice fired blanks in 14 such league fixtures, notching multiple goals on eight occasions, whilst recording eight clean sheets along the way.
With QPR wobbling, and averaging just 0.79 Expected Goals (xG) per-game over their last 12 league games, the Tricky Trees should see this as an opportunity to seize a vital three points in the race to reach the top-six. Therefore, backing Nottingham Forest 0 & -0.5 at 1.804/5 on the Asian Handicap appeals, more so than Under 2.5 Goals which is available at 1.855/6.
The 0 & -0.5 angle sees only half of our stake lost should the game end all-square, with a full-stakes pay-out ensured if the Reds pick up victory.