Mark Warburton could find himself up against two strikers he knows very well when Nottingham Forest head to Ipswich Town this weekend – but he hopes it is another familiar face who will have a big role to play at Portman Road, for the Reds.
If ex-Red Joe Garner recovers from a foot injury, Ipswich could have two players Warburton signed for Glasgow Rangers in their starting XI, with both he and Martyn Waghorn having joined Mick McCarthy’s side in the summer from north of the border.
But the fixture will also mark an emotional return to familiar territory for Daryl Murphy, with the 34-year-old having spent more than five years at Portman Road during three different, lengthy loan spells and three years as a permanent addition to the Ipswich squad.
Murphy made 200 league starts for the Tractor Boys, along with 17 appearances off the bench, scoring 67 goals.
The Irish international scored on his return to Ipswich with Newcastle last season – albeit in a 3-1 defeat for the Magpies – and Warburton believes the striker will be fully focused on doing a job for Forest, while adding to his tally of seven Reds goals.
“It is a big game for him, but I am sure he has the experience to cope. He is an experienced pro and he is going back to a club he had a really good time at,” said Warburton. “I know he always scored against Brentford for them, I certainly remember that.
“He is a good player, a proven professional and will go there and do a job for us. I am sure he will have friends there still, but he is a Forest player now and he will know that as well as anyone else.”
Waghorn has scored nine goals for Ipswich so far this season, while the bustling Garner has netted five – and Warburton knows the kind of threat they will pose this weekend.
“They have got some goals between them. Waggy was one of our first signings, in our first few months at Rangers,” said Warburton.
“We signed Joe later on and he is a player we got for a decent fee. He is a very aggressive, combative player but with no shortage of quality.
“Waggy has a great left foot and desire to go with that. They are enjoying their football and I am sure they are being well managed by Mick.
“They are two players in form and we are aware of them – but they have other players in their squad who can cause problems.
“We will be prepared for a tough game. Ipswich are a team high on confidence, who got a great result in midweek at Derby (winning 1-0).
“They got the early goal, which reminded me very much of the Birmingham game recently. They got the early goal then defended their goal fantastically well. They did really well, showing real resilience.”
Warburton expects Ipswich to provide disciplined, hard to break down opposition.
“They possess quality, they have a team ethic, they are organised – any team managed by Mick will be supremely well organised,” said Warburton. “We know the challenge we face at Portman Road, it will be another tough encounter.
“He is an outstanding manager and we know what his team will bring. We know what to expect. They will have quality, desire and commitment – but we know there are no easy games in this division.”
Two other former Forest players will miss the game, with Luke Chambers suspended and David McGoldrick sidelined with a groin injury.