Changes expected as Nottingham Forest face challenge to bounce back against QPR


Mark Warburton made the perfectly reasonable decision to stick with the same Nottingham Forest team that were winners at Hull, for Tuesday’s visit to Royal Berkshire.

Unfortunately for the Reds boss, the faith he showed in the side that so impressively won on Humberside was not repaid as his charges produced arguably their worst performance of the season to lose 3-1 against Reading.

In a game where Forest never got going and allowed a struggling Reading side to dictate the tempo, albeit a very pedestrian one, those who had impressed on Saturday would find it hard to argue if they were not involved when QPR come to the City Ground this weekend.

That showing has given Warburton ammunition, should he need it to make changes on Saturday.

Warburton, who admitted he had Armand Traore available for the Madejski Stadium meeting, chose to keep faith with Eric Lichaj and Tendayi Darikwa, who had both done well in the previous outing. But it would be hard to envisage the left-back not returning at the expense of Darikwa, who struggled on his return to the side.

Nottingham Forest players react to going 2-0 down at Reading

Tyler Walker’s improving performance levels are giving Warburton an interesting dilemma up front, given the fact that Daryl Murphy has missed the last two games with a slight injury.

Jason Cummings, who earned his first-call up to the Scotland senior squad on Monday, has led the line in the absence of Murphy, and while the 22-year-old hasn’t done anything wrong, the best of his work has been done either outside the penalty box or in his own area, heading off the line to deny Hull a certain leveller.

Cummings’ tendency to drag himself wide is heavily reliant on midfielders breaking the lines and getting into the box, something that didn’t happen nearly enough against Jaap Stam’s men – Murphy proved to be a big loss in holding the ball up and bringing others into play.

Walker’s impressive cameo should have yielded a couple of goals, but the fact he got himself in those positions will give Warburton an interesting conundrum up the top of the pitch when it comes to deciding whether he’ll have the same impact from the start as he does off the bench.

Nottingham Forest’s Ben Osborn pulls a goal back to make it 3-1

Ben Brereton can feel somewhat aggrieved to have lost his place, and will be pushing hard to be included against a QPR side that haven’t won in Nottingham for 83 years, though you can’t help but feel Walker has leapfrogged him in the pecking order – and above Apostolos Vellios, too, who did make an appearance in the matchday squad on Tuesday.

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Will Forest beat QPR at the City Ground?



Vellios’ appearances in the Under-23s recently have hardly been worthy of inclusion in the starting XI and things will have to change drastically for him to be involved for the senior side in the coming weeks.

In the centre of the park, David Vaughan and Liam Bridcutt are forming a useful partnership, and while Reading wasn’t a good night for most wearing red, the more time the pair spend together on the pitch can only be a good thing and one would expect them to keep their places alongside Ben Osborn and Kieran Dowell.

Like Tuesday, with so much debate over team selection, here’s your chance to select the Reds starting XI to take on Ian Holloway’s Rs.



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