This game features two sides in something of transitional periods, with Forest just recently naming Billy Davies as their new manager while Manchester City boss Mark Hughes looks set to embark on a month of huge spending. Both sides have had their troubles on the pitch this season and with Hughes’ position under scrutiny, this could be the stage for the perfect cup upset.
Nottingham Forest’s season has been pretty miserable really although their supporters will be hoping that 2009 brings different fortunes under the guidance of Billy Davies. Although he won’t directly be in charge on Saturday, the club have confirmed that Davies will become Colin Calderwood’s successor and will start his job after this fixture. While Davies’ record in the Championship is pretty impressive, his links with fierce rivals Derby has meant that some supporters haven’t reacted well to the appointment and he will need to win them around quickly. While he won’t be in the dugout on Saturday, there’s no doubt that he’ll be on the players mind and they’ll know that they’re now playing for their futures after starting their league campaign so badly.
As for Manchester City, the rumours are already circulating over what new faces they could bring in. As soon as the clock hit 12 on New Year’s Day, there were strong reports that they were to move for Chelsea full back Wayne Bridge in a big money deal. There’s no doubt that he’ll be the first of many players linked with the City of Manchester Stadium although Mark Hughes will want to make sure his current players remain focussed on the job in hand. Despite spending plenty of cash in the summer, City have struggled in the league this season and currently sit in 13th position – just two points above the drop zone. With Forest under new leadership, this is a potential banana skin for the visitors and Hughes will know that there will be immense pressure heaved onto his shoulders should he not mastermind a victory over the Championship strugglers.
Mark Hughes will be missing Stephen Ireland and Nedum Onuoha who are both struggling with hamstring injuries. However, Robinho looks to have recovered from a thigh strain and should be available, although whether he’ll be thrown into such a tie is another matter. Nottingham Forest have a couple of problems as well with Julian Bennett definitely out while Joel Lynch is doubtful with a hamstring problem. On a lighter note, defender Kelvin Wilson is hopeful of playing if he can shake of a virus in time.
Nottingham Forest may have the incentive of a new manager joining the club, but Manchester City’s players also have plenty to play for. With the transfer window open, everyone’s position is up for grabs and we thoroughly expect City to put in a professional display and progress to the next round – 1-0 away win.