It might not sound overly glamorous on paper, but this could turn out to be one of the more entertaining fixtures of FA Cup weekend if both of these sides take the clash seriously. With Nottingham Forest pushing for promotion in the Championship and Preston looking to realise similar ambitions in League One, it remains to be seen just how much importance both managers place on the game.
Then again, if we look back to Forest in the last round there’s no doubt that they took their game against West Ham completely seriously. Despite being pitted against a top flight outfit, Forest thrashed the Hammers 5-0 and gained countless plaudits in the process. That result wasn’t a flash in the pan either and if we look to their general form, it’s been impressive to say the least. Billy Davies’ side have now not lost in their last ten, in an unbeaten run that spirals all through December and January. Such results mean that Forest now reside in 5th place in the Championship, five points ahead of 7th position.
Preston find themselves in a very similar position in League One, with six points separating the Lilywhites from 7th place. It’s been a grand campaign for Simon Grayson’s side although unlike Forest, they will desperately require any cash they can get their hands on so one would imagine that Grayson will be taking this clash particularly seriously. It would be fair to say that their form through recent weeks has been respectable and having lost just one of their last seven, the Deepdale outfit will be traveling to the Midlands with a decent amount of confidence under their belt. Additionally, they are completely familiar with success against Championship outfits, having knocked Ipswich out of the last round after netting a 3-2 victory in a replay.
As for team news, Nottingham Forest will not be able to rely on the services of Henri Lansbury who will sit this one out through suspension. However, in other regards the City Ground side have been buoyed and will have the likes of Eric Lichaj, Guy Moussi and Darius Henderson available despite little recent football. Preston are in a similar boat and just have the single absentee, with the Lilywhites unable to tap into the experience of Kevin Davies who misses out through suspension. On a more positive note, the visitors will be looking to hand Scott Wiseman a start, with the full back eligible to feature after not playing for former club Barnsley in the last round.
If we turn towards a prediction, we don’t think lightning can strike twice in the case of Preston. They say anything can happen in cup competitions, but with Nottingham Forest holding the home advantage we are of the firm belief that they will progress on the back of a 2-0 victory this Friday.