Nottingham Forest v Blackpool: Team news, predicted line-up and pre-match quotes from Neil Critchley
This weekend Blackpool head to the City Ground, the venue of one of the club’s most memorable nights, on their return to action after the international break.
The Seasiders will be looking to continue their fine form, which has seen them win four of their last six games and move into the top half of the Championship table.
But if they’re to add another three points to their collection, they’re going to have to do so without a host of key players.
In their last outing, Neil Critchley’s men held on for a heroic win against Lancashire rivals Blackburn Rovers having lost Chris Maxwell, Richard Keogh and Shayne Lavery to injury during the 90 minutes.
With a number of other players already sidelined, it leaves the Seasiders depleted across the board.
On Saturday, Pool face a rejuvenated Nottingham Forest side that have steered clear of the relegation zone in recent weeks under new boss Steve Cooper.
The former Swansea City man has won two of his first three games in charge, having replaced Chris Hughton last month.
Hughton was sacked after leaving Forest bottom of the table following six defeats in their first seven games.
Neil Critchley has to decide whether it will be Stuart Moore or Daniel Grimshaw who replaces Chris Maxwell in goal.
It comes after Maxwell tore his quad in the win against Blackburn before the international break, an injury that will keep him out for a number of weeks.
Moore was the man to replace Maxwell on the day, but Grimshaw has already started two games for the Seasiders in the cup.
Elsewhere, top goalscorer Shayne Lavery will be unavailable with a hamstring injury he also suffered in the game against Blackburn.
Jerry Yates, who scored within two minutes of replacing Lavery in that encounter, is likely to be the man that gets the nod alongside Gary Madine.
Richard Keogh, the other Pool player to be forced off against Blackburn, could be in contention having recovered from his groin injury.
The 36-year-old, who should be fit for Wednesday night’s trip to Reading if he doesn’t make it this Saturday, will be keen to face the fierce rivals of his former club Derby County.
Elsewhere, Daniel Gretarsson will miss out as a result of the mild concussion he suffered during Iceland’s win against Liechtenstein earlier this week.
Despite not featuring for Australia during the international break, Kenny Dougall could be rested this weekend as a result of travelling back from Tokyo. The midfielder is due to return to training on Friday.
Reece James (foot), Matty Virtue (ACL), Grant Ward (achilles), Owen Dale (foot) and CJ Hamilton (foot) all remain sidelined.
Neil Critchley’s pre-match comments
“They’ve got good players, it’s as simple as that.
“Their fortunes have changed since they changed their manager. It started with Steven Reid when it was Huddersfield away and he changed the shape.
“Steve Cooper has come in and carried on with the same shape, but he’s obviously tried to put his own mark on the squad of players he’s got. So far, they’ve done extremely well.
“They’ve had a little break where I’m sure Coops would have been on the training pitch working with those players to get his ideas across.
“They’re in form, they’re winning games, so it’s got the makings of a really good game.
“But I’m sure with them being at home and given the form they’re in, they’ll be expecting to pick up three points. It’s up to us to try and surprise them.”
“We’re playing against a team that are used to winning because of their promotion last year,” Forest boss Steve Cooper said.
“I know Neil Critchley and I know how good a coach he is, so this is another tough game coming up.
“But we’ve got to focus on what we’re in control of and that’s our performance level. Get that right and we’ll give ourselves a good chance.
“We’re not in the league position we want to be in, but it’s better than it was maybe a few weeks ago.
“We’ve got to recognise why we’ve done well in recent weeks and continue to build and build and get better and better.
“You’ll hear a lot of managers say it, but this league is tough. It’s relentless and it’s harsh at times, so we need to make sure we’re believing in ourselves.
“It’s got to be a looking forward mentality.”
Pool’s predicted line-up (442): Grimshaw, Sterling, Ekpiteta, Husband, Garbutt, Stewart, Wintle, Bowler, Anderson, Yates, Madine
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